There's a US restaurant chain called Chick-Fil-A and their motto is "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich"

If you dig deeper you find that they claim that what they really mean is that the founder, Truett Cathy, was the first person to sell a chicken sandwich in 1940s at a pre Chick-Fil-A restaurant he owned.

Does anyone know of any documented food history that can prove this claim is not true?

  • 7
    This is one of those few cases where I simply don't care about historical accuracy. It's a mighty tasty chicken sandwich.
    – Jeffrey
    May 5, 2011 at 19:57
  • 4
    I much prefer Popeye's to chick-fil-a. Especially on Sundays!
    – JasonR
    May 5, 2011 at 19:59
  • 1
    Is it fair to say they invented this particular style of chicken sandwhich? Or is that just unnecessary pedanticism?
    – jcolebrand
    May 5, 2011 at 23:25
  • Can you cite your source?
    – Flimzy
    Oct 24, 2013 at 23:02
  • The Chick-fil-A website claims that Truett Cathy invented the chicken sandwich in 1963. However, check out this picture postcard of the first Waffle House (in Avondale) taken in 1955: atlantatimemachine.com/commercialbldgs/waffle.htm Did you read the marquis board?!? Now maybe they didn't sell it on a bun. But the spelling is just a little TOO coincidental. I'm surprised there hasn't been a lawsuit about this.
    – user16094
    Nov 5, 2013 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


Certainly not Chick-Fil-A:

Sandwich, in its basic form, slices of meat, cheese, or other food placed between two slices of bread. Although this mode of consumption must be as old as meat and bread, the name was adopted only in the 18th century for John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who had sliced meat and bread brought to him at the gaming table so that he could continue to play as he ate. His title lent the preparation cachet, and soon it was fashionable to serve sandwiches on the European continent, and the word was incorporated into the French language.

See also:

As a curiosity, the Bible cites something similar to a lamb sandwich in Numbers 9:11:

The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it [lamb] with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

Even more:

Using Google Books, the first mention I can find of a "chicken sandwich" is dated 1827:

Google was wrong, the earliest I can find is dated 1841.

[...] and who, having refreshed her guest firstly with a glass of soda water fresh from the ice basket, and finally with a most unexceptionable cup of coffee and chicken sandwich, considerately left her to the repose which a delicious couh under a waving punkah, steadily pulled during the night, irresistibly invited.

See also the relative NGram.

  • 5
    Ah, but WHO thought of putting CHICKEN as the meat? After it crossed the road of course.
    – JasonR
    May 5, 2011 at 19:57
  • Isn't that clip from 1927, not 1827? Not that it weakens the proof.
    – mmyers
    May 5, 2011 at 20:50
  • You are right and Google is wrong
    – Sklivvz
    May 5, 2011 at 20:59
  • 5
    In any case, before the 1940s as Chick-FilA claims. May 6, 2011 at 16:07
  • 1
    Thinking about it, maybe their comment is about the fried chicken sandwich they serve. Is there any info on that?
    – Kupiakos
    Oct 1, 2013 at 19:15

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