There is no denying it, I am infatuated with Arby's. My unconditional love and devotion to the beef-slinging, fry curling fast food chain is recognized (respected by some, mocked by others, questioned by most) across my personal and professional circles.
I have joked about leaving my job to go work for Arby's--because I am clearly the most enthusiastic brand advocate they could ever hope to find--and in my heart of hearts, sometimes, I'm not 100% certain that I am actually joking.
I would go so far as to say, Arby's has been one of the most significant and consistent presences in my life during this calendar year. I reconnected with the staple of my childhood (tapping their 5 roast beef sandwiches for 5 dollars deal was a semi-regular weeknight dinner solution in my household) this past January, during a moment when I found myself in a very vulnerable state of being. I was aching, lost... and hungry; Arby's was there for me, like a big red cowboy hat of hope. Since then, Arby's has nourished my soul and body through moments of desperation (there's an Arby's on my route to and from the office, it's always got my back), triumph (I've rewarded myself for going almost a week without Arby's with Arby's on more than one occasion), hangovers (woof, so many), and heartache (definitely spent Valentine's Day 2016 excessively seasoning a hot roast beef sandwich with my tears).
My judgement may be slightly impaired by my emotional connection to these stacked-as-hell beef-wiches, but I sincerely believe Arby's is the greatest fast food chain in existence. They do their thing, they do it well, and they change for no one; Arby's doesn't chase trends, they play by their own rules and offer things their competition doesn't. Things like hot Beef 'N Cheddars, addictively spiced fries delivered in Shirley Temple tight curls, and now, yet another prime example of their fierce independent spirit: the venison sandwich.
Oh yes, to celebrate the onset of hunting season, Arby's is set to release a special limited offer sandwich spotlighting not cattle, not pigs, not chickens, but deer as its feature protein source. This sexy poster sandwich of the chain's "It's Meats Season" campaign will consist of a thick and juicy, free-range, grass-fed (100%) deer steak topped with crispy onions and a sweet berry sauce, all stacked on a toasted roll, according to Fortune. Alas, the venison sandwich will only be available at select locations across 6 states--Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Georgia--from October 31st to November 27th. And even more alas, each of the 17 participating Arby's stores will only serve the sandwich for a 3-day period during the promotion.
But wait, THERE IS GOOD NEWS: I happen to live easy driving distance from the participating Atlanta location. And you can bet your bottom dollar my venison- and Arby's-loving ass will be there sometime(s) between November 4th and 6th. Click here for a full list of participating locations, and the dates they will be serving, to find your own most convenient option.
Now look, I know haters gonna hate on my applauding a sandwich that celebrates the slaughter of defenseless woodland creatures roaming the forest in peace. And sure, fine, I do look at Arby's like my prodigal drive-thru... but that aside, what other fast food chain do you know of that branches out in so far as putting the likes of venison (or pork belly, for that matter) on their menu? Arby's is willing to make a bold move to further embrace their own Ron Swanson-like identity, even at the risk of controversy. And to me, that's admirable--especially in comparison to what other clowns on the market do to get people in the door, such as piling an obscene amount of bacon on a sandwich or swapping their buns for fried chicken patties. The "you do you" philosophy I witness Arby's live by reflects a level of bravery and self-awareness I constantly strive to adopt into my own day-to-day doings. And one day, I will get on their level (with a gut full of roast beef to fuel me, no doubt).
I could go on forever listing all the ways Arby's proves itself to be my quick-stop chain restaurant equivalent of a best friend and role model... but the fact that they present their artistry as "Meat Craft" really kind of says it all. Also, I'm planning on writing a real essay titled Arby's and Me at some point in my life, and I'm not trying want to give too much away right now. Sorry. Stay tuned.
*Note: The sentiments expressed above reflect the author's real love for Arby's, but are intended to be digested with a sense of humor--as they were written with one.