Tucked inside a small vendor’s booth in Western Market lies Roaming Rooster, which just might offer the best chicken sandwich in D.C.
Situated inside 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., Roaming Rooster offers the food hall’s patrons a quick fix of tasty chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders and wings. While the restaurant may not have the fancy atmosphere or locale appropriate for your next date night, Roaming Rooster is a solid option for a quick lunch or dinner in Foggy Bottom that won’t disrupt your schedule.
Western Market offers a consistently clean and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy your meal alone or with some friends. Plenty of tables were available in the spacious hall when I stopped by for dinner, and during the warmer months the outdoor patio seating makes for a pleasant spot to grab a bite.
Roaming Rooster originally opened in 2015 as a food truck, which quickly expanded into a fleet of three and eventually brick and mortar stores like the one now in Foggy Bottom, according to their website.
Sandwiches fill the menu at Roaming Rooster, with options like the OG Nashville sandwich ($9.29) which is topped with coleslaw and pickles, The Buffalo ($9.49) with blue cheese and buffalo sauce and The Club ($9.99) with bacon, lettuce, tomato and ranch. Patrons can choose between four “heat levels” when ordering chicken, ranging from mild to extra hot. I ordered a mild honey butter chicken sandwich ($9.49) which comes smothered in honey butter along with a slice of cheddar cheese.
I also ordered fries ($3.99) and a bottle of Coke ($2.50) to round out the meal. Unfortunately, Roaming Rooster isn’t on GWorld like other restaurants inside Western Market, but the honey butter sandwich makes it worth the credit card swipe.
The server called my number after about five minutes, and I made my way over to the nearest table to eat. The sandwich, dripping with honey butter and wrapped in a soft bun, was larger than most chicken sandwiches I’ve eaten. The serving of fries was also more than plentiful, and they were delivered inside of a paper cup wrapped in a paper bag, similarly to Five Guys’ presentation.
The first bite of the sandwich nearly froze me like the food critic in Ratatouille when he tastes Remy’s dish – the chicken was perfectly crispy, the bun was warm and soft, the honey butter was delectably sweet but not overpowering and the flavor of the slightly-melted cheddar at the bottom of the sandwich perfectly complemented the buttery chicken. The physical aspects of the sandwich were impressive, too – it didn’t fall apart despite its size, and the bun never became soggy, even with the sandwich covered in a layer of melted butter.
I was born and raised in the South, so I’ve had my fair share of chicken sandwiches, but this one might just be the best I’ve ever had.
In spite of my glowing review of the sandwich, the french fries were at best forgettable and at worst simply bad. I suggest skipping out on the fries opting for the coleslaw as a side ($3.99).
Roaming Rooster doesn’t offer dessert, but nearby options like cannoli from Capo Deli and ice cream and cookies from Captain Cookie could satisfy your sweet tooth after your meal.
The next time you’re walking by Western Market and in need of a quick and tasty meal, stop by Roaming Rooster to give this finger-licking sandwich a try.
This article appeared in the January 20, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.