In its July 2004 issue, Southern Living Magazine named Kessler's restaurant in Versailles, KY as one of the top ten restaurants in the United States for fried chicken. I took my family to this restaurant on July 16, 2004 and we were mugged!
A chicken dinner cost $9.95; for this price my father received two pigeon-sized drumsticks and half of a breast. Mom got a wing, breast, and drumstick. My dinner did have a thigh, breast, and drumstick; but it turns out that meager quantities were the least of the offenses.
The chicken in all three dinners was barely room temperature. (It should have been a tip-off when we didn't smell fried chicken while walking past the kitchen!!) The meat in every single piece was dry, stringy, and unflavored. It took some really poor cooking to get the dark meat this dry. The breading was bland and limp. This chicken would be scarcely acceptable if it were frozen and came out of a box. To call it one of the best chicken dinners in the US is downright fraudulent.
Debate at our dinner table did not turn on the relative merits of the chicken. We were trying to decide whether we were willing to pay for it at all! As we debated, three other diners called the waitress over to complain about the chicken.
When the waitress came to our table, she showed no surprise at our displeasure and offered no apology or compensation. She curtly told us that we should have ordered something else.
I hope that no chowhound or friend of a chowhound is ever unlucky enough to set foot in this establishment. I will follow this posting with a letter to Southern Living and to the Washington Post where the article was reprinted. This was truly a terrible experience.