Birmingham’s Best Chicken Salad Spots


best chicken salad BirminghamMy love affair with chicken salad began my freshman year at the University of Alabama. Anyone remember the chicken salad at the (now-closed) Crimson Cafe on the strip?? (A moment of silence, please, as we mourn the loss of their perfectly-proportioned, not-to-mayonnaise-y chicken concoction filled with crisp Granny Smith apple chunks and walnuts. The consummate mixture of flavors and textures. Sigh…) I know some prefer plain, “vanilla” chicken salad, the kind without all the fun mix-ins. Not me. The more chunks, the better. This brings me to the first restaurant that offers some of the best chicken salad in Birmingham.

Chicken Salad Chick

Originally started in Auburn, Alabama, franchises are popping up all over the Southeast, including four Birmingham-area locations (Homewood, Southside, Riverchase, and Lee Branch). There’s bound to be one convenient to your office or home. What I love about Chicken Salad Chick is the variety of chicken salads. Their menu offers twelve, yes TWELVE, variations on this Southern staple. They offer everything from savory (think mix-ins such as onions, bacon, basil) to fruity (cranberries, grapes, apples, pineapples) to spicy (Sriracha, jalapeños, buffalo sauce). Not in the mood for any fun mix-ins? The Classic Carol (simply chicken, mayo, celery and seasoning) is always a winner.

My personal favorite, which just happens to share the name with my daughter’s favorite story-book character, is the Fancy Nancy. The Fancy Nancy has crunchy pecans, grapes and apples. Order it with or without bread or crackers, and voila- an easy gluten-free meal option!

Ashley Mac’s

If you’ve ever been to Ashley Mac’s, you know what I’m talking about. We first fell in love with her food, but then we fell in love with her heart and mission. As if we couldn’t love this restaurant more than we already do, Ashley Mac’s is always supporting local schools, fundraisers, and events. With three Birmingham-area locations (Cahaba Heights, Inverness, and Riverchase), Ashley Mac’s offers a menu full of delicious options (don’t get me started on the melt-in-your mouth sour cream biscuits, strawberry cake, or the poppyseed chicken casserole), and their chicken salad is one of the best. It’s simple, yet hearty. It’s nut-free for all those who don’t care for a nutty chicken salad. It features celery, spices, and grapes. Order a heaping scoop atop a crisp green salad or enjoy it on a buttery croissant roll.


Taziki’s has many food items that we love, but their chicken salad is a fan fave! It’s scratch-made and can be paired with your choice of any two sides, including spicy pimento cheese, pasta salad, tomato-cucumber salad, and fresh-cut fruit. (Taziki’s sides are SO GOOD.) You can also get it on a sandwich with chips for a quick, simple, summer lunch. Either way, this is a simple and delicious take on a classic.


No Birmingham-area chicken salad blog post would be complete without mentioning O’Carr’s, am I right?! O’Carr’s has two Birmingham locations (Homewood and Downtown) and is the gold-standard of everything chicken salad. Their chicken is finely chopped (I’m assuming in a food processor) with just the right amount of mayonnaise, pecans and sweetness. I always order my chicken salad with their fabulous “eat by color” fruit salad side. I always admire the placement of the rainbow assortment of fresh fruit and the crackers so artfully wedged into the chicken salad scoop. It’s almost too pretty to eat! Almost.


This eatery specializes in premium proteins, fresh produce, and comforting, feel-good food choices. Knowing their commitment to sourcing only the finest ingredients, it’s no surprise Newk’s would make this list. They always have their classic chicken salad on the menu. It’s made from scratch with red onions, grapes, and pecans. You can’t go wrong with this chicken salad variation. (It’s so popular, you can easily find recipe dupes of this one online!)

However, as of this writing, they have a new springtime offering, too! Their seasonal cranberry and almond chicken salad brings a unique twist to the classic. This version has dried cranberries, almonds, and fresh tarragon for a light, spring-y taste. You can get either of these options as sandwiches with tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, and provolone on their Parisian bread.

Homewood Gourmet

If you’ve never been to Homewood Gourmet in Homewood (in the TCBY shopping center), stop what you are doing right now and GO!

Homewood Gourmet’s out-of-this-world Chicken Salad

The owners used to work for Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans and came to Birmingham after Hurricane Katrina. Everything on their menu is absolutely superb (do NOT miss their signature Baby Bleu Salad), and their chicken salad is my husband’s and my go-to favorite. One bite, and you’ll realize their chicken salad is as fresh as it gets. It tastes made-to-order! The celery is incredibly crisp and it has the perfect chicken-to-mayonnaise ratio.

Hometown Fare

While Hometown Fare is located in the Ross Bridge neighborhood of Hoover, you don’t have to live in the area to enjoy this favorite. The chicken salad sandwich is a lunch staple, served on the menu daily from 11 am to 2 pm. Their gourmet take manages to be both sweet and savory. Perfectly seasoned and I love the extra touch of crunch from the very finely chopped apples, walnuts, and celery.

If a sandwich on grilled bread with fresh lettuce and tomato isn’t for you, their chicken salad is also available in their grab and go cooler. Take it home to serve any way you like but be warned, its a hot seller and their supply often disappears quickly!

A Twist on a Classic

In closing, Birmingham has amazing choices for all things chicken salad. (Which isn’t surprising since there’s so much good food of all kinds here!) I’ll leave you with one of my favorite comfort food casseroles my mom used to make for us growing up. Enjoy!

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole:

– 4 Chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (4 cups shredded or chopped)
– 1 C chopped celery
– 1 C chopped walnuts
– 1 T minced onion
– 1 C mayonnaise
– 3 T lemon juice
– Salt and pepper
– 1 sleeve of Ritz cracker crumbs
– Butter

1. Mix all the ingredients except the last two
2. Top with cracker crumbs and drizzle with melted butter
3. Bake in a greased baking dish at 350º for 15-20 minutes

Did your favorite chicken salad spot make the list? If not, share your favorite below!


Need some more dinner ideas? Check out these family-friendly local restaurants:

Top Family-Friendly Restaurants in Birmingham

This post was originally published on May 15, 2023.


  1. This is great, Jule! I also love Cafe Iz’s, with the diced apple (so small you can almost miss it!) and nuts- YUM!


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