Let’s start off with a disclaimer: I’m not a food critic.  I have never been a food critic, and, as much as I enjoy food, I will never be a food critic.  That being said, I eat… a lot.  I know what is good food, and I know what is not good food.  Last week, I went to Hardee’s and had one of the worst food experiences in a long time.

Last week, when Katie and I were in Knoxville for a conference, I had a lot of free time.  Katie had dinners that she had to go to as part of the conference, and I was on my own.  Since the closest Hardee’s is about 45 minutes away, and Katie doesn’t really like Hardee’s, I took one of my dinner opportunities to drive down to nearby Maryville to get some Hardee’s.

Let me begin by saying that I should have taken my experience in the drive-thru as a warning.  I pulled up, and my order was taken timely and pleasantly enough, but then I pull around to the window and sat… and sat… and sat.  For about 3-4 minutes, I sat in my car at the pick-up window without seeing a single person.  I gave serious thought to driving away, but I was hungry and didn’t.  I should have.  Finally, a guy came, took my payment and gave me my order.  The fries were hot and the Coke was cold – just the way I like them.

And, I want to be fair here, the cheeseburger that I ordered was really good.  One thing Hardee’s does very well is cheeseburgers.  They are fantastic.  I’ve never been disappointed with their cheeseburgers, and that was true for this experience as well, but I’m not writing to praise Hardee’s for their cheeseburgers (though I wish I was).

A while back, Hardee’s introduced their hand-breaded chicken tenders.  Take a look at the picture below.  They look nice and tasty, don’t they?  Golden fried, juicy, deliciousness.







That is not at all what I had.  If that was what I had, I wouldn’t have anything to write to you about today.  Those look good.  However, this is what I got:




















As you can see, what I got was quite the opposite of the picture that Hardee’s puts out.  These chicken tenders were severely overcooked.  A little overcooked is no big deal.  These were overcooked to the point that they were inedible.  Seriously.  I tried to bite into it, and I couldn’t completely chew through it.  This was not the golden, crispy deliciousness that I was promised by the picture on the sign.

Additionally, and somewhat less consequential, but indicative of the whole experience, I was told that the only sauces they had at the time were ranch and Asian.  First off, what the heck?  I was really wanted some Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, but would’ve easily settled for honey mustard.  Instead, I got the “Asian” which was not on the menu board, but was supposed to be a sweet & sour sauce.  Well, it was sweet & sour, like the sweet & sour sauce that you’d get from a Chinese restaurant.  In fact, I’m pretty sure they got it from a Chinese restaurant because it was in a plastic cup, not packaging like the other sauces.

All in all, my experience at Hardee’s would have been just fine if I had simply stuck with the cheeseburger and fries.  The chicken tenders were terrible and ruined the whole experience.  Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s talk about the potential government shut down from last week stemming from the lack of a budget….