Raleigh’s Best Creamy Chicken Salads


There’s just something about creamy chicken salad that makes it one of my favorite sandwich fillings. I like mine mixed with fresh chicken (preferably white meat) celery, onion, lite mayo, salt and pepper – that’s about it, although every now and then sliced grapes and sweet pickles can slide into the mix. I’m not too picky about the bread it’s served on (rolls, sourdough, rye, wraps, etc.) as long as it’s good and fresh. Or I can eat it right out of the container, plain.

Several months ago I posted my favorite Chunky Chicken Salads in Raleigh, with the promise to follow up with the best creamy chicken salads in the area. I could research this topic forever (and probably will) so I finally decided to get on with it and publish my favorites so far.

Poppyseed Market (8801 Leadmine Rd., Raleigh, N.C. 27615). If you’ve never been to Poppyseed, I totally recommend it – either for takeout or dine-in. Chef/owner Julia McGovern offers a number of specialty sandwiches, salads, entrees, desserts, wines, etc. in this gourmet deli/café/wine bar. You may know Julia when she was chosen as sous chef to Angus Barn’s executive chef, Walter Royal, on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” program in 2006 (they won!) But I digress – on to the chicken salad, which is awesome. Roasted chicken is mixed with onions, celery, light mayo and Dijon mustard and served on a flaky croissant for $8.75, which includes homemade potato chips (yum!) and a pickle. There are so many great offerings at Poppyseed, and this one is definitely one of my favorites (along side Chef McGovern’s pimento cheese, which is an upcoming post, for sure.)

Cameron Bar and Grill (2018 Clark Avenue Raleigh, N.C., 27605) I love Cameron Bar and Grill’s mimosas and I love its chicken salad. It is fresh and creamy, and has sliced red grapes, which gives it a sweet taste. Order it on sourdough bread for $7.00, and it comes with your choice of fries, hot chips, fruit salad, slaw, garden salad, etc. CBG is one of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh’s Cameron Village, whether for lunch, dinner or late afternoon drinks after a hard day of shopping.

Justin’s Grill (1322A Millbrook Rd., Raleigh, N.C.  27609). Located in the Quail Corner’s Shopping Center, Justin’s serves Mediterranean and American deli food. The staff is extremely friendly. The menu describes its chicken salad as “our grandma’s tasty recipe with tender chicken.” Yes, the chicken is quite tender and its flavor comes through because there is little mayo and tiny bits of celery. This chicken salad is more of a spread, and they put a good sized scoop of it on your choice of bread. Chips are included, all for $5.25. Great price, great sandwich!

Snoopy’s (various Raleigh locations). Yes, the hot dog place. The one that is just as busy late night as it is at lunch has great homemade chicken salad. I had no idea until my friend Pam told me about it, and I’m so glad she did – this stuff is delicious! It’s on the sweet side and has eggs, pickles, celery and mayo. I got the Homemade Chicken Salad Club ($5.99) that came with two cheeses, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Fries/chips are extra. Great stuff!

Pharaoh’s Grill (4421 Six Forks Rd., Raleigh, N.C. 27609). This chicken salad is creamy, fresh and made from all white meat chicken, with pickles and mayo. A chicken salad sandwich on your choice of bread is $6.49 and chips/fries, etc. are extra. The North Hills location is tiny and usually crowded at lunch, so go early or late. There is also a location in Raleigh’s Museum of History, with the same menu. You can purchase the chicken salad by the half-pound or pound as well.

There are two store-made chicken salads that I buy most often when I don’t make my own, and they are Fresh Market’s Rotisserie Chicken Salad ($8.49/lb.) and Whole Foods Classic Chicken Salad ($9.99/lb.) Both are pricey, but they are fantastic with fresh chicken mixed with mayo, celery, onions, etc., and you can most certainly pass them off as homemade (just saying.) However, if you do want to make your own, try Kel’s Creamy Chicken Salad, which I posted earlier this year. The recipe can be found at: http://kelleychisholm.com/2012/04/15/kels-homemade-creamy-chicken-salad/

So there you have it, my favorite creamy chicken salads in Raleigh. If I left one of yours off my list, please let me know – this is one food I never get tired of trying!

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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