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Thus Goeth Popeye's? +[Evanston Chicken Shack]

Thus Goeth Popeye's? +[Evanston Chicken Shack]
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  • Thus Goeth Popeye's? +[Evanston Chicken Shack]

    Post #1 - August 30th, 2004, 6:24 pm
    Post #1 - August 30th, 2004, 6:24 pm Post #1 - August 30th, 2004, 6:24 pm
    I have never believed in the original or the sole. I've long believed that a restaurant can be copied, reproduced or otherwise extended beyond the ability of one person to cook on a regular basis. Exhibit 1 was always Popeye's Fried Chicken. Popeye's chicken did not taste good for a fast food restaurant. It was good tasting fried chicken. It had its gimmick, the undercoating of red pepper, but that was hardly the point. It was what you wanted in fried chicken, not stale and soggy, not greasy, not bland. Along side, you got awful but in a good way or was that good in an awful way, faux biscuits. The rest of the menu sucked, but did you care?

    The Popeye's branch near the Brickyard Mall, on Grand near Narragansett, is awful, dreadful, awful. The chicken there tastes far from fresh, like it was purchased by a food broker haggling away merchandise just before their drop-dead dates (some pun intended). And it is small, dry and fried to a papery crisp that seems so unlike the Popeye's that made me believe. Is it this Popeye's or all Popeye's.

    Oddly enough, I find myself needing to go to the Brickyard Popeye's because the Oak Park Popeye's is even worse, but the Oak Park Popeye's is so readily poor in a you can see we are not trying, that I can see that this branch is a real exception to any franchise rules. The Brickyard branch has visible management, and I see this management a lot. I know they are trying for something. What I am not so sure about, are they trying to be Popeye's on the cheap, or are all Popeye's trying for the cheap?

    What do you say?
  • Post #2 - August 30th, 2004, 6:40 pm
    Post #2 - August 30th, 2004, 6:40 pm Post #2 - August 30th, 2004, 6:40 pm
    I would say that there are a few bad Popeyes in the bunch, but the South Side seems to have more than its fair share of good Popeyes. The one on 35th near King Drive and the one on 87th and Stony Island are consistently fresh and always busy, while the Popeyes on 47th and Cottage Grove (the closest one to my apartment) is somewhat lacking. Popeyes on the whole is no Gus' Fried Chicken (Memphis, TN), but is definitely the best of the national chicken chains. However, the company that manages the Chicagoland Popeyes could do a better job of keeping its restaurants clean (the 87th/Stony location often smells stale), could renovate their restaurants so they don't look like condemned buildings (all Popeyes should follow the example of the Damen/Fullerton/Elston location and not the 35th/King Drive location), and offer the full menu at all their locations.
  • Post #3 - August 30th, 2004, 7:16 pm
    Post #3 - August 30th, 2004, 7:16 pm Post #3 - August 30th, 2004, 7:16 pm
    You want bad Popeye's chicken, you want their Naked Chicken that sets a new low to rotisserie-style. I think the gimmick is no carbs, but there's no flavor either -- and their highly-touted side order of haricot verts is microwave-soggy. (Yeah, I should have guessed, but I'm a sucker for new products.) Rob, I'm with you, when Popeye's regular fried chicken is good it's very good -- but let there be no mistake, they're not a place to partake of "healthier" entrees.
    >>Brent
    "Yankee bean soup, cole slaw and tuna surprise."
  • Post #4 - August 30th, 2004, 7:55 pm
    Post #4 - August 30th, 2004, 7:55 pm Post #4 - August 30th, 2004, 7:55 pm
    My dilemma isn't "bad" Popeye's -- it's "NO" Popeye's. For the past gazillion years, I've patronized the Popeye's that used to be located adjacent to my building, on Clinton Street (in the black bunker currently undergoing "renovations"). They were a "good" Popeye's; I miss them deeply. Making me miss the Popeye's even more is the recent disappearance of my other fried chicken haunt, the Harold's on Adams. They were not a great purveyor (I think they were one of those Harold's that cooked the fish and chicken in the same oil), but now they too are closed (moved about 5 or 6 blocks south -- too far to walk for what was only average chicken). So now my only fried chicken option is McDonalds -- which I guess means you'll all be seeing a slimmer, trimmer JiLS in the near future.
  • Post #5 - August 30th, 2004, 8:27 pm
    Post #5 - August 30th, 2004, 8:27 pm Post #5 - August 30th, 2004, 8:27 pm
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:My dilemma isn't "bad" Popeye's -- it's "NO" Popeye's. For the past gazillion years, I've patronized the Popeye's that used to be located adjacent to my building, on Clinton Street (in the black bunker currently undergoing "renovations"). They were a "good" Popeye's; I miss them deeply. Making me miss the Popeye's even more is the recent disappearance of my other fried chicken haunt, the Harold's on Adams.

    I have noticed a real dearth of chow options near Clinton and Adams. For a chunk of downtown Chicago near lots of pricey real estate and company employees with disposable income, it's surprising to discover a chow black hole.
    there's food, and then there's food
  • Post #6 - August 30th, 2004, 8:30 pm
    Post #6 - August 30th, 2004, 8:30 pm Post #6 - August 30th, 2004, 8:30 pm
    21-25 years ago, I spent nearly every thursday lunch at a Popeye's on LaSalle just north of the river, which was two doors down from a comic shop where I picked up my weekly stash of light reading material that will probably never send my kids to college.

    The chicken was spicy, at least, but small and greasy -- we usually called it "Popeye's Fried Pidgeon and Biscuits."

    I actually liked their biscuits a fair amount, and the dirty rice (Anybody ever heard Timbuk3's song "Dirty Dirty Rice" -- all about Popeye's).

    But the star of the show was their onion rings: light, spicy,crisp breading around tall, thin slices of sweet onion. They were outstanding. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

    So I went into a Popeye's earlier this year after years of eating elsewhere (my wife took the Pigeon moniker to heart, and won't go in there), and they're gone: in their place are these soggy, mealy Onion Petals -- like the chopped off pieces of an onion blossom. Not sweet onion, not crisp breading, just lumps of undercooked onion. The dirty rice seemed to have been lightened too. Less grease, less 'dirty.'

    I won't be back anytime soon... except their Popcorn Crawfish is actually pretty tasty (I think it was a temporary special). Now that I'm working out of the house, I'm getting less fast food in general anyway.
  • Post #7 - August 30th, 2004, 9:16 pm
    Post #7 - August 30th, 2004, 9:16 pm Post #7 - August 30th, 2004, 9:16 pm
    LTH,

    I don't have extensive Popeye's experience, but the one on the 6300 block of Lincoln Ave satisfies the occasional craving. I lean more toward KFC, 3 extra crispy thighs doused in my home made chili, oil or the bottled spicy wing sauce Great Sea sells at their restaurant, more than satisfies my every 4-5 month take-out chicken fix needs.

    One thing that ticks me off, ever so slightly, at both KFC and Popeye's, is the biscuits. Salty, to the point of inedibility, when warm, salty with a slick, cheap shortening mouthfeel when cold. ~feh~

    Note to JoelF, I have Timbuk3's "Dirty Dirty Rice" playing as I type, thanks for the reminder. For a while I played Dirty Dirty Rice and Tarzan was a Bluesman almost constantly. Oh, by the way, my wife says if this puts me on another over-and-over kick of those two songs she'll hunt you down. :)


    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #8 - August 31st, 2004, 8:08 am
    Post #8 - August 31st, 2004, 8:08 am Post #8 - August 31st, 2004, 8:08 am
    Vital Information wrote:What I am not so sure about, are they trying to be Popeye's on the cheap, or are all Popeye's trying for the cheap?

    As discussed on practically every food-oriented forum on the web, franchise operations tend to vary wildly in quality (and representation) depending on the manager/owner/cook of the hour. Of course, business is business, but some Popeyes franchises are definitely better than others. What I've tried in Korea, for instance, wasn't the best I've had, but it did come from a food court. Even that might not be representative as I went with a former employee who knew the workers on duty. Yes, it depends...

    Evan B. Druce wrote:I would say that there are a few bad Popeyes in the bunch, but the South Side seems to have more than its fair share of good Popeyes.

    I would certainly hope so, as the local Harold's hegemony would blot any poor Popeyes franchise out of memory if it started to slack. Actually, I'm just a North Sider who's only had Harold's a couple of times (once without the sauce fried in), so what do I know? :wink: I'd heard rumors that Harold's was once much more prominent on the North Side, but had to close down its northern establishments for one business/taste/sanitation reason or another. It would be nice to try some non-franchise chicken shacks around here, but I never get around to it.

    JimInLoganSquare wrote:So now my only fried chicken option is McDonalds -- which I guess means you'll all be seeing a slimmer, trimmer JiLS in the near future.

    I did have a McChicken a month or two ago, only to find it a steaming, wet, undercooked mess. I usually go for the Filet-o-Fish or breakfast burrito myself, but that dollar menu option beckoned. I think I need to tell the people taking my order to take their time (if I ever order a McChicken again, and the automated cooking system allows). On another note, why can't McDonald's buck the adult-priced trend on their white-meat chicken? The new nuggets are way overpriced and their chicken select strips are in the cost-benefit stratosphere. If you couldn't tell already, I like my food fast, but I also like it cheap.

    JoelF wrote:I won't be back anytime soon... except their Popcorn Crawfish is actually pretty tasty (I think it was a temporary special).

    They had some buffalo (sauce-flavored) popcorn chicken a while back, too. Not too bad, and not too expensive, either. Now if only Buffalo Joe's would bring out a comparatively cheap option like that...

    G Wiv wrote:I don't have extensive Popeye's experience, but the one on the 6300 block of Lincoln Ave satisfies the occasional craving. I lean more toward KFC, 3 extra crispy thighs doused in my home made chili, oil or the bottled spicy wing sauce Great Sea sells at their restaurant, more than satisfies my every 4-5 month take-out chicken fix needs.

    Great Seas sells their sauce?! (Everyone in my Korean circle of acquaintances calls it Great Seas.) That just blows my mind. After introducing one of my friends to their hot wings, he's become a "ggahn-poong-gee" evangelist. :D I also found much greater value at KFC once another friend poured the KFC hot sauce on the meat. Always ask for the packets. It is kind of telling, though, that I don't patronize the KFC two blocks away from my house more than I do.

    The Popeyes on Lincoln is the franchise I most frequent, though another common location's the one near Loyola (on Broadway near Devon). What matters is getting the chicken "fresh" out of the fryer. Waiting an extra 15-20 minutes is perfectly acceptable in achieving that heated goal (let the other customers take the dried-out chicken). I once did accept 16 breast pieces in lieu of a regular assortment of cuts, however, because that's all they had at the time. Needless to say, dark-meat fans were not pleased with me when we brought that order back home to eat.

    G Wiv wrote:Note to JoelF, I have Timbuk3's "Dirty Dirty Rice" playing as I type, thanks for the reminder.

    That is awesome (and I don't even know the song). :) If the chicken is accompanied at all, my side dishes may include fries, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, biscuits, or red beans and rice. Gotta fill them arteries, y'know. Oh, and excuse the "diarrhea of the mouth" (as my sixth-grade teacher once described spoken verbosity). Popeyes is a personal favorite. Thanks for posting.

    --The Snob
  • Post #9 - August 31st, 2004, 8:36 am
    Post #9 - August 31st, 2004, 8:36 am Post #9 - August 31st, 2004, 8:36 am
    A couple of years ago, while I was walking through the Loop, the Popeyes on Wabash was the victim of construction on the building. So people would know they were there and open, they'd put up one of those banners with their logo:

    Image

    Alas, the top two ropes had come undone, and so the banner had flopped down to flap in the wind. It turns out that, when seen in this fashion, the banner spells out:

    Image

    Yes, "bob gags." I rest my (ample) case.
  • Post #10 - August 31st, 2004, 9:14 am
    Post #10 - August 31st, 2004, 9:14 am Post #10 - August 31st, 2004, 9:14 am
    Not much new to add, but I always wanted to like Popeyes, but never did. The only local one for me, by Fox Valley Mall, was awful each and every time I tried it. How, I wondered, could one make such awful red beans and rice?

    Then they opened one around the corner from my office in Lisle, and it is very good. Chicken, catfish, beans, rice, the whole thing. An amazing difference.

    Another place I want to like, since it is local, is White Fence Farm. The chicken in their restaurant has always seemed just okay, but their carryout locations are mediocre at best. The corn fritters are great, though.

    Now I need to go and report on Dell Rhea's which, to my own amazement, I have never tried despite going so far as entering the place one Saturday evening (too smoky and loud for the Bride).
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #11 - August 31st, 2004, 9:24 am
    Post #11 - August 31st, 2004, 9:24 am Post #11 - August 31st, 2004, 9:24 am
    I have a cute Popeye's story.

    Maybe three winters ago, on a calm, moonlit January night, I ventured forth to the local Popeye's. The big tires on my metrosexy SUV crunched the virgin snow on Ashland as I pulled into the lot across from Lakeview High School, hard by the Long Room.

    One car idled ahead of me at the drive-thru window, its steamy exhaust mingling with the aroma of biscuits and battered fries. I put the truck in park and waited, inhaling the spicy, greasy Popeyes fumes that lingered lazily between the snow and the crisp night air. The beams of my headlights sliced through the purple darkness, stopping at a dumpster and carving sharp shadows on the Long Room wall.

    Movement. WAYANG KULIT: The Ancient Shadow Plays of Bali. Rats. A silent shuffling theatre along the dumpster's front edge. Ten wide, the line of vermin gleefully circulated thighs and breasts, wings and drumsticks. A feast of El Greco caricature was painted in shadows on the Long Room wall.

    Stumbling onto an old trick (used by Murnau, fascist propagandists, and Disney) the rodents' Walpurgis Night was projected, large and distorted, for all to see. Three-foot rat-shadows with oversized teeth and claws hunched over the drive-thru.

    I could see the lady in front of me waiting and watching, her head on a swivel. Chicken and biscuits / infestation and death. A bag of spicy cajun chicken was thrust out the drive-thru window into the night. Hesitant, a hand slowly reached out, accepted sustenance.

    I drove on.

    I will eat Popeye's again, and I sometimes do. Just not there.
  • Post #12 - August 31st, 2004, 9:33 am
    Post #12 - August 31st, 2004, 9:33 am Post #12 - August 31st, 2004, 9:33 am
    Jeff, I surely understand your sentiment and sensitivity, though the show sounds more amusing to me than upsetting. I also doubt there is a restaurant within 50 miles of the Loop that does not have rats in its garbage.

    I have a similar tale. Many years ago, I parked behind the original La Pasadita on the east side of Ashland. I have no idea whether the "lot" still exists, but I pulled onto this unpaved spot and went in to get my burrito. I returned to a scene of scurrying rats by the garbage cans and quickly jumped into my car, a bit unnerved by the activity. While preparing to go I began to here a disturbing rustling beneath my car, and decided the time had come to be off.

    I have been back many times since, though for many reasons I have not parked in back. Rats in the garbage and the alleys are a given, and we all just need to learn to get along, cause they ain't going away any time soon.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #13 - August 31st, 2004, 9:53 am
    Post #13 - August 31st, 2004, 9:53 am Post #13 - August 31st, 2004, 9:53 am
    Late note to JoelF: I ate the very same delicious Popeye's onion rings you describe just this past Saturday. Light, fresh, crunchy, and so so delicious. I got them at the Popeye's on Western, near Lake St. Just in case you get a craving for the real thing.

    (stomach grumbling)
  • Post #14 - August 31st, 2004, 10:14 am
    Post #14 - August 31st, 2004, 10:14 am Post #14 - August 31st, 2004, 10:14 am
    After catching glimpses of the new Popeyes going up at Western and Addison a while back, I wonder what the quality of their menu selections will be (and whether those infamous onion rings will be there).

    --The Snob (from old LTHS)
  • Post #15 - August 31st, 2004, 10:40 am
    Post #15 - August 31st, 2004, 10:40 am Post #15 - August 31st, 2004, 10:40 am
    kl5 wrote:Late note to JoelF: I ate the very same delicious Popeye's onion rings you describe just this past Saturday. Light, fresh, crunchy, and so so delicious. I got them at the Popeye's on Western, near Lake St. Just in case you get a craving for the real thing.
    (stomach grumbling)


    Urghh.. dangerous thing to say so close to lunchtime... and the day I finally broke the half-way point on my weight-loss plan.
  • Post #16 - August 31st, 2004, 2:24 pm
    Post #16 - August 31st, 2004, 2:24 pm Post #16 - August 31st, 2004, 2:24 pm
    brotine wrote:You want bad Popeye's chicken, you want their Naked Chicken that sets a new low to rotisserie-style.


    I noticed on their in store advertising for this that there was a disclaimer stating that although the meal is low in carbs it provides 100% of the daily recommended allowance for sodium. OUCH!!!

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #17 - September 1st, 2004, 6:58 am
    Post #17 - September 1st, 2004, 6:58 am Post #17 - September 1st, 2004, 6:58 am
    Vital Information wrote: I know they are trying for something. What I am not so sure about, are they trying to be Popeye's on the cheap, or are all Popeye's trying for the cheap?

    What do you say?


    I say you should quit trying to make Popeye's something it is not (good fried chicken) and go to the Evanston Chicken Shack for excellent fried chicken made to order and hot from the grease from real, normal sized chickens.

    Evanston Chicken Shack
    1925 Ridge Ave
    Evanston, IL
    847-328-9360
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #18 - September 1st, 2004, 7:19 am
    Post #18 - September 1st, 2004, 7:19 am Post #18 - September 1st, 2004, 7:19 am
    stevez wrote:
    Vital Information wrote: I know they are trying for something. What I am not so sure about, are they trying to be Popeye's on the cheap, or are all Popeye's trying for the cheap?

    What do you say?


    I say you should quit trying to make Popeye's something it is not (good fried chicken) and go to the Evanston Chicken Shack for excellent fried chicken made to order and hot from the grease from real, normal sized chickens.

    Evanston Chicken Shack
    1925 Ridge Ave
    Evanston, IL
    847-328-9360


    Well, as I said above, I used to find Popeye's chicken quite good. Never calling it Chez Helene good, but still good. My question, which seems partially answered in this thread, is, has the quality of the Popeye's chain gone down or is it that I happen to visit a particularly horrible example of the Popeye's chain.

    The conclusion so far seems to be, yes.

    Rob
  • Post #19 - September 1st, 2004, 7:26 am
    Post #19 - September 1st, 2004, 7:26 am Post #19 - September 1st, 2004, 7:26 am
    stevez wrote:I say you should quit trying to make Popeye's something it is not (good fried chicken) and go to the Evanston Chicken Shack for excellent fried chicken made to order and hot from the grease from real, normal sized chickens.

    Steve,

    Don't agree about Popeye's, sometimes it's both convenient and, can, hit the spot, but I most certainly agree about Evanston Chicken Shack. Damn good, and I do mean Damn good, chicken.

    Zim touted ECS on the old board, subtly, as is his way, a few years ago, it took me a year and two aborted tries to get there, but it's was well worth the effort. (for some reason I just could not find the place)

    Holly Moorehas pictures of ECS on his very interesting web site
    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #20 - September 1st, 2004, 9:25 am
    Post #20 - September 1st, 2004, 9:25 am Post #20 - September 1st, 2004, 9:25 am
    I had ECS on the brain when I read this thread. I've been on vacation for the past week and just got home last night. My first stop was ECS to pick up dinner. As soon as I logged in after dinner, this Popeye's thread was there. With ECS fresh on my mind and palate, I had to post.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #21 - September 1st, 2004, 10:40 am
    Post #21 - September 1st, 2004, 10:40 am Post #21 - September 1st, 2004, 10:40 am
    Ditto on the Evanston Chicken Shack. I once had the most delicious fried chicken I'd ever had catered to an office lunch. Asking where the black-pepper-covered fowl came from, I was shocked that such great-tasting chicken could come from such a run-down-looking shack. Rumor has it that the ECS used to be one of the old Harold's Chicken joints in the 'burbs, and quite a popular one at that. It would be great if they had some decent dining-in options.

    --The Snob
  • Post #22 - September 1st, 2004, 11:01 am
    Post #22 - September 1st, 2004, 11:01 am Post #22 - September 1st, 2004, 11:01 am
    fastfoodsnob wrote:It would be great if they had some decent dining-in options.

    --The Snob


    There are two or three tables and a row of chairs, should you be inclined to eat there. That's more than most self-respecting chicken shacks usually have.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #23 - September 1st, 2004, 11:44 am
    Post #23 - September 1st, 2004, 11:44 am Post #23 - September 1st, 2004, 11:44 am
    Hi,

    This is Gary's review of his first visit to Evanston Chicken Shack, which later in the thread includes a discussion of the former chicken vendor in the immediate area.

    Gary wrote:Zim has referenced Evanston Chicken Shack as having very good fried chicken, fully comparable to Harold's, or was it almost comparable to Harold's, either way, thanks for the Chow-Tip Zim, the chicken was excellent. Chicken Shack's chicken was crisp with a slightly crunchy crust, not as thick as Harold's, but enough of a coating that you noticed as you bit through. The chicken was juicy and the flavor was good, mildly peppery with a hit of spice, salty, but not mouth puckeringly so.

    I ordered a 4-wing basket hot sauce on the chicken, which, like Harold's, means they apply a vinegary medium-hot hot sauce in the kitchen, which coats the chicken, fries and ubiquitous two-slices of white bread I also ordered a half-chicken, BBQ sauce on the side. The BBQ sauce was not memorable, but then again, most BBQ sauces aren't. The 4-pieces, which comprised the half-chicken box, stayed surprisingly crisp and the thigh was particularly full flavored and juicy.

    The only, slight, downside to ECS is the wait, I cooled my heels fully 25-minutes once I placed my order. Zim had mentioned the wait, but I wanted to soak up the atmosphere, and a little chicken grease, my first time at ECS, in the future I will call in my order. There are a couple of tables at ECS, but they seem to be mainly for the convenience of customers waiting for take-out orders, which I would guess comprises the vast majority of ECS's business.

    For ease of call-in ordering I'll link to an image of Evanston Chicken Shack's menu courtesy of Holly Moore from his recent visit to Chicago.

    Chicken Shack is a bit difficult to find, I am including specific directions that Zim kindly sent me.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Evanston Chicken Shack
    1925 Ridge Ave
    Evanston, IL
    847-328-9360

    Zim's directions to Evanston Chicken Shack.
    "coming from the south on ridge, just before Emerson it splits into Green Bay Ave and Ridge Ave. The default slight curve to the left direction takes you on to Green Bay, If you stay to the right and go straight, you continue on to ridge, and Chicken Shack is a block north of Emerson, set back a little from the street.


    Zim favors dousing Harold's chicken in hot sauce (or mix), so the ride home is a melding of the sauce to chicken, which isn't quite the same if eaten immediately. If you take the same approach to Evanston Chicken Shack, then the ride home doesn't mean your meal has declined rather it is improving!

    At this time of year, there are plenty of parks and beaches to eat your meal. Yourpalwill is amongst the loyal legions who use their trunk as a dining table. I have eaten in the car in winter, though steamed windows are just something you put up with.

    Humble places sometimes do have wonderful food. Stylish places sometimes have warmed over dreck. It certainly is the pursuit of the people here to find the best wherever it resides.
    Last edited by Cathy2 on September 9th, 2004, 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - September 1st, 2004, 12:08 pm
    Post #24 - September 1st, 2004, 12:08 pm Post #24 - September 1st, 2004, 12:08 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:This is Gary's review of his first visit to Evanston Chicken Shack, which later in the thread includes a discussion of the former chicken vendor in the immediate area.

    Wow, thanks for the info. I had actually heard about the Little Caesar's rumor back in college, but could never really get confirmation on it. It's good to know that Harold's and the ECS were two separate entities.

    Cathy2 wrote:Zim favors dousing Harold's chicken in hot sauce (or mix), so the ride home is a melding of the sauce to chicken, which isn't quite the same if eaten immediately. If you take the same approach to Evanston Chicken Shack, then the ride home doesn't mean your meal has declined rather it is improving!

    At this time of year, there are plenty of parks and beaches to eat your meal. Yourpalwill is amongst the loyal legions who use their trunk as a dining table. I have eaten in the car in winter, though steamed windows are just something you put up with.

    The funny thing is that while I much prefer eating food right on the premises on which it was prepared, there are also advantages to bringing the meal home. One major one is the wonderful aroma that lingers in your car even days after your meal is over, whether from pizza, fried chicken, or buffalo wings. (My version of a cheap air freshener, I guess.) But eating the goods in the car is definitely a hot alternative to taking them on a ride home.

    --The Snob
  • Post #25 - September 1st, 2004, 6:26 pm
    Post #25 - September 1st, 2004, 6:26 pm Post #25 - September 1st, 2004, 6:26 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    stevez wrote:I say you should quit trying to make Popeye's something it is not (good fried chicken) and go to the Evanston Chicken Shack for excellent fried chicken made to order and hot from the grease from real, normal sized chickens.

    Steve,

    Don't agree about Popeye's, sometimes it's both convenient and, can, hit the spot, but I most certainly agree about Evanston Chicken Shack. Damn good, and I do mean Damn good, chicken.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Hmm. Always sort of meant to, but havent tried ECS yet. Mostly because Ive
    found a very good Fried Chicken at Hecky's, just down the road in Evanston,
    and havent bothered to switch from it.

    The key to Hecky's, I think, is to go maybe when it isnt so busy (at least, thats
    whats happened with me a few times). When Ive asked for fried chicken,
    theyve always told me it would involve at least a 10-15 minute wait - which
    is a good thing, of course, because it means theyre just about to put the
    chicken into the fryer and you'll be getting it fresh and hot. I havent tried
    the fried chicken at peak-times - maybe they have some ready and waiting
    then, I dont know, and maybe it wouldnt be as good then. But if there
    is wait involved, it has always been quite terrific.

    Next time will give ECS a shot instead.

    c8w
  • Post #26 - September 7th, 2004, 10:32 pm
    Post #26 - September 7th, 2004, 10:32 pm Post #26 - September 7th, 2004, 10:32 pm
    fastfoodsnob wrote:Great Seas sells their sauce?!

    Snob,

    Yep, right by the cash register. I warm it up a bit before I put it on fried chicken.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Great Sea
    3254 W Lawrence Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-478-9129
  • Post #27 - September 9th, 2004, 5:45 pm
    Post #27 - September 9th, 2004, 5:45 pm Post #27 - September 9th, 2004, 5:45 pm
    Hi,

    In a recent thread, there was discussion of Evanston Chicken Shack, a place I have been curious about since Gary's post last year, which was triggered by Zim's praise. (sometimes giving proper attribution is like following the CH-LTH family tree).

    I knew roughly where Evanston Chicken Shack (ECS) was, but could never quite locate it. I usually come from the north on Green Bay Road, then link on to Ridge with a soft left turn to proceed south. What I didn't realize is if you take a hard left (almost a u-turn) at this intersection to go north on Ridge, then of ECS is within a block. What also threw me off was everyone saying it is near Hecky's, which it is once your cross the railroad embankment and head north. I usually don't go into instructions but I am hoping to help you avoid my frustrations, because you will want to visit sooner rather than later.

    I visited ECS during a weekday lunchtime. I wanted to learn if they keep chicken under a heat lamp or made fresh from the grease. I am happy to advise they make your chicken once it is ordered. I played with the idea of a 1/2 chicken but I was advised it would 15 minutes. If I wanted faster, then chicken wings could be cooked in 5 minutes. I remember Zim recommending the chicken bits suggesting it was parts of chicken wings. I inquired about the chicken bits to learn it was their version of chicket nuggets. If their answer had paralleled Zim's thoughts, then I was interested but their explanation caused my interest to fade.

    Evanston Chicken Shack menu board from http://www.hollyeats.com:

    Image

    (Note: in addition to some price changes, they also offer rib tips)

    I ordered 6 chicken wings, which came with fries, two slices of bread, coleslaw and choice of sauce. I asked for mixed sauce where I received one container of BBQ sauce and one of hot sauce; which I never did mix. I ordered small sides of okra and red beans - n- rice (as stated in the menu).

    The chicken came so hot from the grease, I had to wait for it to cool. It was very well made fried chicken with a light breading that did not need any dipping sauce:

    Image

    The red beans - n - rice was my favored preparation: dirty rice on the bottom with beans on top, which I could either mix in or simply eat off the top. The beans were not so overcooked that they were mush in your mouth but still had some bite left. The Okra was simply fun to eat, that is a small order you see.

    Image

    Regulars phone in their order, which will save you on wait time. If you choose to eat in, there are a few tables and chairs. Though most of these chairs were occupied by people waiting for their food so they could leave.

    Evanston Chicken Shack
    1925 Ridge Avenue
    Evanston, IL
    Phone: 847/328-9360
    For "Speedy" delivery: 847/328-9106
    Monday-Saturday: 10 AM to 12:45 AM
    Closed Sunday
    Last edited by Cathy2 on September 26th, 2004, 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #28 - September 10th, 2004, 9:37 am
    Post #28 - September 10th, 2004, 9:37 am Post #28 - September 10th, 2004, 9:37 am
    hey cathy,

    I'm a wing guy mainly at the shack. Though I DO like the idea of ordering the "bits" and "stubs" combo - it's actually the stubs that I was referring to as part of the wing.

    I really don't think of chicken shack as an eat-in place, I almost never see anyone eating there, those tables merely being the place for those who didin't have the foresight to call-in the order.
  • Post #29 - September 10th, 2004, 11:13 am
    Post #29 - September 10th, 2004, 11:13 am Post #29 - September 10th, 2004, 11:13 am
    Hi Zim,

    Though I DO like the idea of ordering the "bits" and "stubs" combo - it's actually the stubs that I was referring to as part of the wing.


    I went by memory there and knew there was this chicken wing bits thing available. I guess when I saw bits on the menu, and I did ask if it was parts of the chicken wing, the lady said bits were like chicken nuggets. She didn't mention the stubs, which I guess is a 'secret menu' item since it appears no where else.

    I was there last night, where I had the chicken wings, fried mushrooms, onion rings and fried okra.

    I really don't think of chicken shack as an eat-in place, I almost never see anyone eating there, those tables merely being the place for those who didin't have the foresight to call-in the order.


    I guess I am the odd one because I have eaten in twice in the last week. I was also answering Foodsnob who inquired last week about eating in. It's possible, but like you said everyone is typically just waiting for their order and leaving.

    Thanks for highlighting this place.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #30 - September 18th, 2004, 2:39 pm
    Post #30 - September 18th, 2004, 2:39 pm Post #30 - September 18th, 2004, 2:39 pm
    I definitely have to try the Evanston place.

    If your looking for a good and consistant Popeye's, the one on Diversey (and California?) just off 90/94 can't be beat. I used to have an office close to this location, and when in a rush, it filled the bill for lunch.

    -Ramon

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