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Spicy Pickle's Yard Bird: Once you get past the bread, it goes the distance

This bird is singing on the inside.

Spicy Pickle 988 Lincoln Street 303.860.0730 Yard Bird Roasted chicken, bacon, fresh apples, spinach, bleu cheese crumbles and honey mustard. $6.95

Spicy Pickle started out as a single sandwich shop in Denver in 1999, making big subs and paninis with upscale, unusual ingredients and homemade spreads. The Gobbler, for instance, is turkey, artichoke hearts, feta and sundried-tomato mayo, while the Med places chicken, kalamata onions, cucumbers, feta and Greek dressing between slabs of bread.

Every sandwich is, of course, served with a pickle –- though they’re not always spicy.

Over time, the chain has become a publicly traded corporation with at least 44 locations in 16 states, including more than twenty in Colorado.

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My problem with the place is the bread. It shouldn’t hurt to eat, but at Spicy Pickle, the crusty sub bread is so hard, it can pierce your lip, while the focaccia used for the paninis leaves the roof of your mouth feeling like you’ve just come from a masochistic dentist.

On the Yard Bird, I had to tear some of the crust off, but once I did, the combo of chicken and apples was hard to criticize. Apples are an underused asset when it comes to sandwiches. Aside from chicken, you could pair apple slices with peanut butter or cheese or hummus, slap it all between two slices and make a miracle. One of my favorite homemade sandwiches is – and don’t get too grossed out – chicken fingers and apple sauce.

Try it, seriously. Just make sure the bread is soft. – Jonathan Shikes

Read about previous sandwiches in Our Weekly Bread.

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