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Posts Tagged ‘Gas station Chicken’

Zaxbys Review Update – Somewhere in Eastern Tennessee

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Zaxbys Review UpdateCouple years ago, I drove around the Southeast doing a chicken finger/tenders ‘smackdown.’  Turns out I was pretty loyal to Popeye’s, unless there was a Zaxby’s nearby. Well, this was the first time I’d been near one since that trip, two years ago this month.

I’m still a happy camper at Zaxby’s.  Good chicken, good crinkle cuts, fantastic Texas toast.  Texas toast is always a dealmaker for me. Always.

So Zaxby’s? Time to saturate the Upper Midwest. Then I won’t have to go on a 2500 mile drive to enjoy a piece of toast!  (Did you know you can order an ENTIRE BASKET of Texas toast on the side?! YES! )  Yes, I like the slaw too.  Chicken? Crispy outside, juicy inside, fried to perfection.

(I said somewhere in eastern Tennessee cause I have no f*in idea where I was. It was next to a Red Roof Inn, tho, I can tell you that, where the desk clerk was yelling at a guy for having teenage girls in his room. He promised not to do it again and all was right with the world.

Zaxbys Review Update
Zaxby's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Zaxbys Review Update

Zaxbys Review Update

Zaxbys Review Update

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Chesters Chicken Review

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Chesters Chicken ReviewChesters Chicken was originally  a licensed chicken concept that started in 1952 and has now evolved into a full franchise model offering. Located across the US and on two other continents, Chesters offers a “store in store” concept.

That is, you will find Chester’s Chicken counters in gas stations, c stores, food courts, and the like.

I see a lot of them in gas stations on the interstates.  They are usually well represented in the typical blue information signs on the highway, so you can be aware that there is one ahead.

I’ve never seen a free standing store, not sure if they do that.

They offered fried chicken in different styles: bone in, tenders, wings, boneless wings, sandwiches, wraps, with a whole host of sides including potatoes, vegetables and biscuits.

It seems the menu can vary slightly, so it would appear that headquarters doesn’t have a problem with that. I see some locations offering breakfast sandwiches, some locations have fried fish, usually catfish nuggets, but I have seen swai as well (which is a type of very mild Asian catfish). (Partial menu appears below).

The food is presented in well lit, clean counters, and as an ala carte, single piece, meal or snack size.  It’s all delicious, really, it’s a crispy mildly seasoned breading and I’ve never had a piece of chicken (or fish) that wasn’t cooked perfectly.

They haven’t penetrated the Upper Midwest, where I live, very well.  Hopefully that will change.

I drove around the south a few years ago and tried all manner of tenders from different joints. You can read about that here. Another similar concept is Dodge’s Chicken (not size comparable tho), and Krispy Krunchy, headquartered out of Louisiana is another comer.  Some cities have their own localized versions, catering to more regional tastes.  In New Orleans, look for “Brothers.”

Want your very own Chester’s? (I sure would). They have a real interesting, low fee/no royalty model.  Read about franchising on their website.

Chesters Chicken Review

Tenders and bone-in

Chesters Chicken Review

Choose your goodies

Chesters Chicken Review

Click to enlarge menu

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Dodges Southern Style Chicken Review

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Dodges Southern Style Chicken

I’ve written a lot about what I (and apparently others) call “gas station chicken.”

Across the deep south, you’ll run into these fairly often. Some call them “fry delis,” and the independent ones often have a melange of offerings, fried chicken, tenders, egg rolls, corn dogs, catfish nuggets, potatoes.

There are franchised operations, like Chesters, and Krispy Krunchy.

I’ve done kind of an overview in the past, traveling across the south.

I’ve driven by another operation with multiple locations, Dodge’s Southern Style, but my attempt at research to find their origins or number of locations came up dry. (Other than they are old, and possibly based in Tupelo, MS). But I bumped into one recently in Dyersville, AR, near the Tennessee border. For many people, Dodge’s is a gas only operation, they pull in, fill up without every experiencing the wonderment which lies just inside the glass doors.

In a word, I like Dodge’s a LOT.  Their batter has more cornmeal than competitors, so it comes out crispier. They also feature “Jo Jo” potatoes, and while different places offer a product with the same name, most often they are deep fried potato wedges, quarters.  Why no one ever trademarked/patented it/them, I’ll never know. First time I ever recall seeing them was on a Shakey’s pizza buffet. Various places attribute the name originally to a joint in Waconia, MN, and the name spread across the Upper Midwest.  Who knew?

“Dinners” or “plates” also come with a dinner roll, which is fine, nothing to write home about. In any case, lacking a national director of Chesters, Krispy, and Dodge’s, and having to rely on highway information signs to locate them, usually, I know now I can be satisfied at any of these three operations!

Dodges published monthly specials on their spartan website.
Dodge's Chicken Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Dodge Southern Style Chicken Review

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Franks Fast N Fresh Deli – Superior, WI

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Franks Fast N Fresh DeliYou know I’ve written a lot about “gas station chicken,” or “fry delis” as they are called in the deep south.  Counters inside of gas stations, c-stores, or truck stops, these enterprises sell freshly fried chicken, and sometimes sausage, fish, shrimp, eggrolls and the like.

The Calument gas station (formerly Spur) at the food of the Blatnik Bridge in Superior, Wisconsin, is home to Franks Fast N Fresh Deli, serving plate meals and individual pieces of chicken and other goodies early til late.  They also have fries, corn dogs, cheese sticks and some sides.

The chicken is reportedly some of the finest to be found in Duluth-Superior.  But then, what gas station chicken isn’t?

Locals “in the know” fondly call the gas station “Chicken Spur.”  It’s on Hammond and N. Fifth Street, across from the Hammond Steak House in the map below.  Lest out of towners get further confused, Superior is sometimes referred to as “Soup Town.”

 

Franks Fast N Fresh Deli

Franks Fast N Fresh Deli

Soup Town

 

 

Franks Fast N Fresh Deli

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Chicken Five Ways – Weird Week

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Chester Fried Chicken

Chester Fried Chicken

I know, what the hell is BurgerDogBoy doing writing about chicken?  On any given day, if you asked me what i wanted to eat for my next meal, chicken usually wouldn’t even be in the top 25.  Yet, this week, I had it no less than 5 times!  WTF?  Do I need to start a new blog?  Chickenman?  Oh, wait, somebody already did that.

In a fit of anti-burger madness, one can only surmise, this week I had fried chicken at home, via Chester Fried, KFC, Popeye’s, and from the local Chinese place.

Maybe I cracked.  Maybe I have mad cow.  Maybe I am just bored as shit from eating the same stuff over and over again?

In no particular order, except oops, it’s an order, I am starting with the best, Mrs. BDB fired up the cast iron tonight to fry chicken and home. Never a shortage of condiments or boxes of every kind of mix one can imagine in the world, naturally, this week on the road, I picked up more, including fried chicken mix from Sylvia’s, the original soul food restaurant of Harlem. The package proclaims “it’ll make the colonel cry”, which would be quite a feat, considering his tear ducts turned to dust decades ago. Maybe they mean some other colonel.

In any event, this powder made some of the best damned fried chicken we have ever had at home. Mrs. BDB makes champion fried chicken in any event, but this was extra tasty, and a beautiful golden color. See?

I have written in the past about c-store pizza vendors and franchises, but didn’t include a discussion of Chester Fried, which is a similar notion to people like Hunt Brothers Pizza, but purveying fried chicken instead, from various locations ranging from c-stores to food courts. The company was started in the 50s but evolved into Chester Fried by the mid 70s and now boasts over 1500 locations. That ain’t chicken feed, as they say!

While not purporting to be a chicken expert of any kind, among KFC, Popeye’s and Chester, I find the latter to be a far superior product, even tho their menu offerings like the depth of the larger mentioned chains. Why? Often KFC seems to be out in the alley shooting junkyard dog chickens, I find their meat stringy and tough more often than not; Popeye’s seems to use dwarf chickens exclusively, or maybe it’s the equivalent of chicken veal, as these are the smallest chicken parts I have ever experienced. Chesters, on the other hand, offers large, flavorful, juicy chicken pieces, and some pretty fair “potato wedges’ to go with it.

Chester Fried Chicken

Chester Fried Chicken

Their menu has an odd assortment of other deep fried items, using the same batter – corn dogs, burritos, and curiously, deep fried corn on the cob, which I haven’t tried. I love corn on the cob in almost any form, but I fail to see how deep-frying it would enhance the product in any means. As for sides, there’s barely a fast food side that can touch the quality of Popeye’s red beans, but that dish in itself is kind of a regionally acquired taste. Having lived in New Orleans (the birthplace of Popeye’s btw), I have a fondness for it, and local legend speaks to it’s fine taste coming from using lard as an ingredient. Maybe yes, maybe no.

I did like the Chester Fried, however, and won’t hesitate to order it again.

My local Chinese restaurant, which has fairly authentic offerings on the menu (I judge this only because I lived in China for some years), also has the standard Americanized entrees, and his (whatever your local place calls it) fried chicken with the sweet orange colored sauce, is above reproach.

I don’t know what possessed me to get that for take out on a) the first nite home from a burger tour, and b) in a week where I had eaten chicken several times, and c) the nite before Mrs. BDB was going to whip up HER fried chicken.

Maybe it’s all because I just felt “chicken” about coming home. An inside joke here.

All in all, I was happy with each of my chicken selections this week, but of course, Mrs. BDB’s ruled the roost.

Mrs. BurgerDogBoy's Fried Chicken

Mrs. BurgerDogBoy's Fried Chicken

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