Well, I finally tried the famous chicken tenders, and yes they're pretty good. My dilemma is that they aren't good enough to justify the all the hype. We arrived at the Puritan Back Room around 12:15 PM and went inside to order a medium portion of the regular chicken tenders to take out. Five minutes later, our order was ready, which we ate in the car. The tenders were made with fresh breast meat, ample portion served with the requisite watered down duck sauce. The sauce was tasty enough, but the chicken was flavorless--no detectable seasoning whatsoever. As we ate the parking lot became jammed with cars as the multitudes arrived. The place was soon hopping.
I’ve spent the past 7 years chasing elusive ghosts in an attempt to understand local (primarily NH) tastes and preferences. On the advice of others and online reviews, I've eaten many of the things this area has to offer and what it's known for. I've tried maple squares, cardamon cake, Italian subs and now the famous chicken tenders and I've come to a conclusion: in these parts it's NOT about the food as much as it is about cherishing local traditions and memories. Most of the GREAT meals I’ve enjoyed are at places the "locals" tend to shun because they're too "foreign" or "weird."
Bland taste, large portions and affordability are all common denominators for popularity at “local” restaurants, but the most important ingredient is history and tradition in these parts.