When you think of America’s influence on global civilization, there are a few significant innovations that spring immediately to mind: Our National Parks, the Post Office, the Peace Corps, and Ted Lasso, to name a few. But none have had quite the impact as one that came from an unassuming restaurant outside Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1974: the chicken tender.
Manchester’s Puritan Restaurant was established by Greek immigrants in 1917, but it would be 57 years later before the Puritan named the thing that changed the lives of 12-year-olds and baseball fans everywhere. Surely, there were other restaurants serving strips of breaded chicken before 1974, but there’s no record of any other restaurant calling them chicken tenders before the Puritan started doing so.
It’s with that history in mind that the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats announced this week that they’ll play a game next season as the Manchester Chicken Tenders. They’ll wear blue and yellow jerseys inspired by colors from the state flag, and a hat that fans will choose from three traditional flavors straight from the Puritan’s menu: classic, Buffalo, and coconut. The team will wear the hat that receives the most pre-orders on the team’s store.
“We love being New Hampshire’s home team, and we’re always looking for fun ways to recognize the history of our community,” said Fisher Cats President Mike Ramshaw, quoted on the team’s website. “We can’t wait to see which hat our fans choose for the team to wear on Chicken Tenders Night. It won’t be an easy decision!”
A date for the Chicken Tenders promotion will be announced closer to the 2022 season.