Chicken tenders are a popular menu item at SAB events, AJ’s Café, and Bon Appétit. (Flickr)

For Hillsdale stu­dents, one of the most welcome scents is the aroma of chicken tenders wafting through AJ’s Café at any given time. When it comes to breakfast, lunch, dinner, midday snacks, and mid­night snacks, tenders are always the most ordered items on the menu, according to AJ’s employee Anna-Katherine Daley.  

Despite the recent addi­tions of healthy sand­wiches and the overall abun­dance of menu items, chicken tenders are a fan favorite, in part because of the scarcity of avail­ability outside of AJ’s. Many stu­dents have little or no Liberty Bucks to spend at AJ’s and eat in the dining hall for all their meals.

“I would say the chicken tenders are a del­icacy we don’t often get from Bon Appétit in the lunchroom,” said Lyndsey Bice, who works for the Student Activ­ities Board. “Chicken tenders are a classic snack that any college student wants to indulge in free of cost.”

Chicken in the form of nuggets, tenders, or popcorn is fea­tured at all major SAB events such as Welcome Party, Garden Party, and President’s Ball. These events draw large crowds of stu­dents, many of whom claim to have been drawn in by the promise or chicken. Instagram posts fol­lowing these events often feature stu­dents dressed to the nines with cap­tions saying some­thing like “Only came for the nugs.”

“After the mul­tiple cups of nuggets that I con­sumed at Garden Party, my sole moti­vation for President’s Ball was the tenders,” freshman Emma Matheson said.

While they’re only served in the dining hall a few times each semester, stu­dents anx­iously await their return each time they come in for a meal. Bon Appétit Man­agement Company employee Liz Maynard says that members of the football team con­sis­tently ask if there are chicken tenders being served.

“Without fail, every day they will ask me,” Maynard said.

Others feel that with the new push for healthy menu items by Bon Appétit, chicken tenders are a nice break from the nutri­tious snacks.

“People at Hillsdale love chicken tenders because they are a common comfort food,” sophomore Gabriella Van Aken said.

The root of the chicken tender phe­nomena is unclear but it’s clear that just the thought of chicken tenders seems to have stu­dents feeling peckish.