Geez, I can count on about three fingers the times I have not been disappointed when I’ve tried a restaurant that is a perennial favorite in a given city. If it’s won “the best of” multiple times, for some reason, it won’t strike me the same way.
Much to my delight, Hodaks does not fall into that black hole, despite being voted “St. Louis Best Fried Chicken 25 Years in a Row.” I agree.
I was out looking for restaurants on the “Mother Road,” or at least the remnants of same, Route 66, the old main highway that ran from Chicago to St. Louis. In my neck of the woods, I’d had the pleasure of dining at several establishments on the Route, including Lou Mitchells, in downtown Chicago at the beginning of 66 (exceeded expectations), Del Rhea’s Chicken Basket, (meh, thanks for playing), Cozy Dog and Charlie Parkers, Springfield, IL, the Country Cup, a couple places in El Reno, OK, birthplace of the Onion Burger, the Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff…..and others.
Ordinarily, fried chicken isn’t something I’d go out of my way for, tho I am fond of quality preparations. It wouldn’t be in my top 10 of things to order at a restaurant.
But here we are/were, and it’s on Route 66, been around forever, so why not. And besides, I needed a “good” St. Louis experience to make up for my last time there, trapped by a master con woman for three days initially, then sucker punched into spending 7 years together.
Hodaks was busy, it was Saturday lunch time, holiday weekend, but not so busy we couldn’t be seated straight away. I understand there are times when there is a substantial wait for a table.
Started with the traditional St. Louis appetizer, fried ravioli, deep-fried pasta pockets stuffed with meat and accompanied by a marinara dipping sauce. My initial thought of just having a couple bites vanished….and did the entire plateful. Oops.
Onto fried chicken, my choice, a pounded breast, with mashed, gravy, beans, slaw. Superb. I mean it, superb in every aspect.
Would I go again? You wouldn’t be able to stop me if I was passing through town. St Louis in the future will be forever two things to me, Hodak’s Chicken and Imo’s Pizza.
Hodaks Restaurant and Bar Review