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Summary: Delicious, I can't wait to go back, chicken is the star of the show.
Since I'm nearby I figured I'd try the recently opened Big Chickie.
Got there around 5:30, not too crowded, but by the time we left 15 minutes later there were about 15 people in line behind us. The menu is very simple, here is a picture (not my picture): http://www.urbanspoon.com/rph/1/18369...
There were 2 of us and we opted for a half chicken with 2 large sides, 4 pieces of cornbread, both sauces (I think it always comes with both but not sure), and a small side of beans and rice. The total was ~$22 out the door.
Chicken: Incredible, super moist, great char on the outside, I was a huge fan of the spice blend. They use smaller chickens, not like the monsters they use at a place like say, Ma'Ono. Normally we split a half chicken at Ma'Ono and always have leftovers. At Big Chickie their chickens are on the smaller side. I like this for many reasons, the main one being that the birds they use give the perfect ratio between weight and surface area. Nearly every bite you take will contain some bits of that glorious charred skin. I sampled both white and dark meat and I was surprised how good the white meat was. I normally prefer the dark meat but the white meat was impossibly moist and juicy. I picked the bones pretty clean, the crispy spiced bits were so good. When we finished our chicken I regretted only getting half a bird.
Sauces: First off, I should say that overall I preferred the chicken without sauce. The chicken can easily stand on it's own here. Not sure if sauces rotate but yesterday they had a yellow mustard sauce, and a green sauce. The mustard sauce was good, though it covered up the spices on the chicken a little. The green "sauce," was finely chopped, not sure exactly what it was but it was very refreshing. Had a small amount of heat to it and I thought the texture went well with the chicken. It didn't completely coat everything like the mustard sauce, and didn't overpower the spices on the chicken. I'd say the green "sauce," is my condiment of choice for their chicken. The mustard sauce is a little more generic, but still good.
Cornbread: Small, moist, cornbread'y. I'm no cornbread expert but I thought it was good. I'd probably always order a few extra, they're practically bite size.
Corn salad: Simple, but underwhelming. It contains corn, red pepper, red onion, and parsley; at least I think it was parsley. I wanted this to taste more like corn, but the red pepper just dominates all other vegetable flavors in this salad. Even with the red pepper taking over, the salad was still kinda bland, I wanted a more pronounced corn flavor. I'd still get this side, just not as often as others, and in a small size probably.
Cheesy potatoes: Can't lose with cheesy potatoes. They're pretty much what you expect. They certainly deliver. What cheesy potatoes don't?
Beans and rice: Well seasoned, good spice blend, rice was a little overcooked but not egregiously so. Not much to say really, it's beans and rice.
The restaurant is basically a counter, you got one employee cutting up chickens, a second doing sides, and a third ringing you up. The seating area is sorta outside but it's somewhat enclosed. I didn't really check it out too much, not sure if they have radiant heaters or what, but if they don't it'll be take out only in the winter. It's a nice build out and a clean space. I don't think there is any service, it looked like everyone gets their food in to-go style containers/boxes and you can eat there or take it home. I think that's a smart move, it just simplifies things (not sure if the waste generation is worse than dishes, depends who you consider stakeholders I suppose). From a business standpoint I think this is a smart restaurant, I put money on it expanding. It's just simple, everything is based around 1 item (no options beyond white or dark, no spicy or non spicy, no messin' around just delicious chicken). The sides are all fairly simple, and if they can get the process down for the chicken and be able to replicate it day in day out I see this place doing really well. If you're ever near Columbia City I recommend checking it out, I can't wait to go back. Next time I'll probably get a whole bird for 2 people.
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