Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
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1435 S. Green St.
February 22, 2006 10:58 AM
A fiberglass chicken about as tall as a grizzly bear stands outside of Mr. D's beckoning customers to drive in. While Mr. D's is a full-menu drive-in with a repertoire of hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches, chicken rules. It is fried chicken made from a recipe popularized decades ago by a legendary chicken man named Colonel Jim, and like the stupendously good chicken at the nearby Bon Ton Mini Mart, it has a wickedly crunchy crust that is spicy enough to make your eyes water.
Because Mr. D's is a quick-service drive-in with car-service only, the chicken you order will be delivered to your window in five minutes or less, meaning that the kitchen cooks it ahead of time rather than to order. This is good if you are really, really hungry, but not so good if you are a crisp-skin connoisseur, for the time the chicken lolls around between coming out of the deep fryer and arriving at your car allows the crust to loose some of its snap. Make no mistake: this is four-star fried chicken, and puts just about any non-Kentucky fried chicken to shame. But the next time we order some, we are going to do as Henderson tipster Louis Hatchett advises, request that the kitchen cook it to order. If that twenty-minute wait means crust that cracks when bitten, we'll happily endure it.
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