a couple's adventures in eating
Restaurant: Price’s Chicken Coop
Location: 1614 Camden Rd Charlotte, NC
WHAT HE ATE:
The Food: 1/4 Chicken Dark (includes Potato Rounds, Cole Slaw, and Hush Puppies)
The Price: $6.05 plus tax
The Critique: This popular eatery was featured on the Food Network show, Crave Fried Chicken: Deep Fried Love In A Bucket. No doubt, this restaurant is incredibly popular. We arrived at openin’ time, 11am, and the locals were rising through the pavement, making their way through the front door. The waiting masses of employees adorned in white with expressionless faces waiting to shovel their golden goodness from the El Dorado of El Pollo into boxes adorned with the full menu, in case you are still hungry…which you won’t be.
To say the food is good at Prices, would be a disservice. The food tastes great. The chicken is crispy and very southern. The potato rounds put any others I’ve tasted to shame, the coleslaw is crunchy and fresh, yet creamy and delicious. I have to be honest, this isn’t the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. Dear Lord, I hope I don’t offend anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly eat this food every day of the week, by far! I think it is a matter of personal preference, but I prefer my chicken a little crunchier, and a little hotter.
The process is simple. The chicken is cooked in the kitchen out of sight from the public, brought out and placed in large grey plastic bins under heat lamps. The person at the counter takes your order, goes back and assembles the box, places the food inside, and finishes the whole parcel of poultry with a “tool.” What “tool,” you ask? A small plastic fork with a packet of Hunt’s brand ketchup rubber-banded around the neck. Charming, as most things in The South are.
The Verdict: I look up to this chicken, but I’m at mustache level.
WHAT SHE ATE:
The Food: 1/4 chicken white meat with tater rounds, two hushpuppies, cole slaw, a pickle, a roll, and a partridge in a pear tree.
The Price: $6.70 plus tax
The Critique: I am quickly realizing two things about this brand new baby blog we’ve got going, here: 1. I am committing a multitude of food-going cardinal sins (I omit onions from my cheesesteak, I prefer white meat to dark, oh, and get this, I order my burgers well-done- WHAAAT?). 2. I am not doing a spectacular job of adhering to any sort of sparse, sprout-laden diet tacitly bestowed upon me by every editor of every wedding magazine ever.
But back to the topic at hand: fried chicken. Growing up in North Carolina on small means and a greasy appetite always meant one thing: Bojangles. For our non-Southeastern readers, Bojangles is your run of the mill biscuit and fried chicken joint now toting about the slogan, “It’s Bo Time!” for the hungry fiends across the South looking to cure their hangovers. Price’s is a similar type of stop minus the franchise aspect.
What they lack in frills they make up in flavor. You’d think you were walking into a quarantined kitchen with the all-white walls and attire. Armed and ready, the hair-netted employees await your order. The menu is small enough that they know what you want about three words in. Do not plan to customize, Sally Albright. This is a cut and dry, ready to go, fast-paced environment. Thirsty for a beverage beyond the realm of water or very, very, very, very, very sweet tea? Go get it yourself from the soda machine.
The food is undoubtedly delicious. My mother and I shared a box and still didn’t eat even half. It’s not that it’s no good. It’s that it’s too good. Your tastebuds start waving their flags for mercy from overwhelming flavor, your stomach starts churning the grease, and your guilt-ridden brain starts saying, “You stop it. You stop it right now.” The chicken is juicy. The coleslaw is brilliantly seasoned with a tanginess that creeps directly to the corners of your mouth. I didn’t make it to the roll but I imagine it makes for a nice grease sponge. I could have used a little more sweetness in the hush puppies, but no harm done.
This type of food leaves me a bit lethargic but everyone needs that now and then.
The Verdict: I’m lookin’ up, up, up to this food!