Last year when Mr. and I took a short trip to Kelowna, the sign of Carl’s Jr. caught his attention. We didn’t stop by for a visit, but Mr. has secretly been hoping that they would open one soon in Lower Mainland. Well, his wishes were heard, and a Carl’s Jr. location was recently open in downtown Vancouver. I decided to try it out before taking Mr. there, so I went there for lunch last week.
One of the signs on the window says Jalapeno Chicken Tender Sandwich with a mouth-watering picture of the sandwich. Sold! I ordered the sandwich with a small combo, meaning small drink & fries (it’s actually medium size in Canadian fast food terms). I also paid extra to upgrade my fries to yam fries.
The actual sandwich was far from exciting. The bun was some dry, plain burger bun, and the cheese was not melted. The choice of using iceberg lettuce was interesting; fast food joints use green leaf lettuce in their gourmet burgers (edited per reader’s comment) and I think iceberg lettuce just has too much water content and can turn the bun soggy faster. The chicken tenders themselves were okay: meat was moist but the batter was a bit thick. Overall, it was a rather ordinary chicken burger with the exception of a few jalapeno slices, but jalapeno isn’t an earth-shattering topping either. I’m not a huge burger person so I often order chicken burgers; I definitely have had better chicken burgers, or even chicken tenders/fingers, at other fast food joints. I was quite disappointed considering this combo cost me more than $10.
It’s been about 3 months since this location opened its door, so one would think that they have worked out all the kinks already. I will have to disagree. It was 1pm on a weekday afternoon, and there were at least 6 staff and 1 manager working behind the cash registers with 5 orders, including mine, in the queue. Those who ordered before and after me had received their orders and I was still standing there waiting for mine. Then they noticed me, went back to check their orders and realized mine was missed. I waited 15 minutes for my order, only to find no sipping sauce or ketchup in my takeout bag for my yam fries. So I asked them about it and they offered me some spicy mayo. It took 3 people to squeeze the dipping sauce into a little plastic container and somehow it took them another 5 minutes to figure it out!! If I wasn’t staring at them, they probably didn’t realize I’ve been waiting for it. I didn’t think my order was that particularly difficult, but it was a pain to have waited 20 minutes for it.
Given the quality of food and service I received, I was very disappointed by my experience at this Carl’s Jr. The price point is comparable to the gourmet burger line of other fast food joints, and honestly, I have had better elsewhere. Will not return to give it another shot.
625 Howe Street, Vancouver