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AQ Chicken House

1207 N. Thompson, Springdale, AR - (479) 751-4633
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/17/2010 4:33:00 AM
NWA, locals' shorthand for Northwest Arkansas, produces tons of poultry; and there are several restaurants in the region that make a big deal out of chicken dinner. AQ Chicken House, opened in 1947, is the daddy of 'em all. Now a big, family-friendly outfit with a broad menu that includes ribs, brisket and blue plate specials, it sets the highest possible standards for pan-fried chicken. Each piece seems to be nearly as much crusty skin as luxuriously oily meat. A great alternative is to have the chicken charcoal cooked, a process that yields spicy skin imbued with the flavor of smoke and a vigorous lemon-pepper smack. Barbecued chicken also is available. If you can't make up your mind, the menu does offer a sampler platter of three pieces, each cooked a different way. All-you-can-eat meals are available for $11.99 per person.

Meals start with featherweight, glossy-topped cloverleaf rolls hot from the oven; and among essential side dishes are a slightly spicy sweet potato casserole, batter-dipped French fries (insanely, deliciously oily), seasoned green beans, smoky baked beans and real mashed potatoes. When you order your meal, be sure to put in an order for dessert. Fried peaches take a good 15 minutes to cook, and they must not be missed. Fresh -- yes, fresh -- slices of peach are battered and fried and served hot under a pile of ice cream.

There is a second location on Highway 71B in Fayetteville. 479-443-7555.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Chicken Sampler Platter
Fried Peaches
Fried Chicken
Cloverleaf Rolls
Chicken Over the Coals
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Dark meat is the way to go. This drumstick is luxurious beyond description, the meat tender, the skin chewy and resonant with spice.
"Dark meat is the way to go. This drumstick is luxurious beyond description, the meat tender, the skin chewy and resonant with spice."
Michael Stern





Can't make up your mind? A chicken sampler platter offers one piece each of fried, over-the-coals and barbecued. Sharing plate space are battered French fries (yu-um) and sweet potato casserole (yu-um +).
"Can't make up your mind? A chicken sampler platter offers one piece each of fried, over-the-coals and barbecued. Sharing plate space are battered French fries (yu-um) and sweet potato casserole (yu-um +)."
Michael Stern


'Chicken over the coals' is hugely flavorful with a peppery, lemony punch.
"'Chicken over the coals' is hugely flavorful with a peppery, lemony punch."
Michael Stern


Meals begin with a basket of fluffy cloverleaf rolls.
"Meals begin with a basket of fluffy cloverleaf rolls."
Michael Stern


The must-eat dessert: slices of fresh peach are dipped in a sweet, cinnamony batter and fried to a crisp, served warm under vanilla ice cream.
"The must-eat dessert: slices of fresh peach are dipped in a sweet, cinnamony batter and fried to a crisp, served warm under vanilla ice cream."
Michael Stern


Since opening day in 1947, the menu has expanded to include many other items, but it's chicken that has made AQ (short for 'Arkansas Quality') the go-to place in northwest Arkansas.
"Since opening day in 1947, the menu has expanded to include many other items, but it's chicken that has made AQ (short for 'Arkansas Quality') the go-to place in northwest Arkansas."
Michael Stern


The AQ interior is filled with lots of chicken decorations, including a large metal chicken sculpture in the foyer.
"The AQ interior is filled with lots of chicken decorations, including a large metal chicken sculpture in the foyer."
Cliff Strutz


The chicken and dumplings has wide flat homemade noodles and big chunks of tender meat.
"The chicken and dumplings has wide flat homemade noodles and big chunks of tender meat."
Cliff Strutz



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