Eighty chicken sandwiches are a cult sensation in Kahuku

Only 80 sandwiches and only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Roll With It is a Frolic series about the food trucks and trailers we’ve seen everywhere. We track them down and try dishes to bring you 4-1-1.

Photo: Maria Burke

SWhile scrolling through Instagram, I stopped at an intriguing comment from our post about which new restaurants stood out among the dozens of drooling emojis. “Yo, can I think of a place…maybe in Kahuku?” With only one menu item? and only 80, on Saturdays and Sundays? 🤔” It was made by none other than @eightychickensandwiches.

The contemplative face emoji that followed the comment mirrored mine. As soon as I hear about someone making a dish on the menu and in limited quantities, my ears perk up. I immediately texted Associate Editor Thomas Obungen, and sure enough, he’s been following them for over a year. We confirm our plans and set off on a foodie excursion in a car filled with beach gear, pūpū and ice cream in a cooler, and excitement in our bellies. Our destination: Kahuku, for fried chicken sandwiches. We find it hidden behind Giovanni’s outdoor dining area in a small gray trailer with a one-item menu engraved on a wooden honu.

SEE ALSO: Gourmet excursion: 3 food trailers to discover in Kahuku this summer

Of course, curious minds want to know: Why chicken sandwiches and why only 80? Owner Adam Wade moved to O’ahu with his wife. A stay-at-home dad with a background as a corporate chef at Boeing, Wade has a serious love for southern fried chicken. He says a case of chicken breasts contains 80 pieces and that’s the amount he thinks he can prepare and execute well on his own. He adds that his fried chicken isn’t particularly different, but it’s what any Atlanta grandma would do at home: classic country style.

The menu

Eighty chicken sandwich menu Credit Maria Burke

Photo: Maria Burke

In one look :

The menu includes one item: buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches served with a healthy pile of hand-cut fries and juice or water. You can order your chicken breast dipped in hot sauce, half-dipped, or naked, and you also have a choice of homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Eighty Chicken Sandwich Box Fries Credit Maria Burke

Photo: Maria Burke

We recommend:

  • We’re going full spicy and pray that he does not destroy us in the sweltering heat of summer. The sauce turns out to be a blend of deep, warm spices and tangy vinegar with a rounded sweetness. Read: Nothing to fear. The black pepper in the dredge appears with a distinct earthy spice. The crust is crisp and the double dunk ensures that every rock and crevice is coated in a thick, buttery sauce. The brioche stays together even as the sauce seeps into the bread while the pickle chips and crunch of the lettuce complete the textural tandem.
  • The ranch dipped sandwich is good, but that’s the blue cheese who wins us. This dressing is creamy and sultry with chunks of high quality blue cheese and lots of cracked black pepper. In combination with the spicy sandwich, it makes me dance.
  • Guys, French fries. I have never had fries like these on O’ahu before. They are fried three times: first to blanch; second to cook; and the third to crisp just before plating. Wade’s method results in the crispiest fries you’ve ever tried. These are ethereal but delight you with a starchy, potatoy goodness. However, you must eat them immediately, which is true of all freshly fried treats.
  • Go early because you don’t know how fast 8o chicken sandwiches sell on a Saturday and you don’t want to drive all the way to Kahuku to be disappointed.
Foodie field trip Eightychickensandwiches Credit Thomas Obungen

Photo: Thomas Obungen

I could go on about this wonder of a sandwich but I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. I promise you’ll think about it weeks later.

how it rolls

  • Where: 56-505 Kamehameha Highway in Kahuku, behind Giovanni’s Shrimp
  • When: Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to sold-out
  • Payment: Cash or credit card
  • Follow: @eightychickensandwiches

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