**** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED ****
Since 1949, Al’s Chickenette has been serving top-notch chicken dinners to locals and travelers along I-70. Restaurant founders Al & Lucille Bieker are no longer in charge, but the new owners do a fine job keeping up this Hays, Kansas, tradition.
If you are passing through after dark, Al’s is especially easy to find, thanks to its beautiful vintage neon sign glowing outside. Indoors, the walls are covered with evocative pictures of Kansas railroad history and a huge collection of chicken figurines.
Of course, the thing to eat is chicken. Fried. You can buy it by the quarter or half bird, tenders or nuggets, a breast filet or a giblet dinner of livers and/or gizzards. This is not fast-food chicken. It will take a while for your order to cook, which is one reason it is so good. As your teeth crack through the chicken’s crunchy skin, aromatic steam erupts into the air. It is delicious plain, but the way Al’s customers know to eat it is to take a squeeze bottle of honey and drizzle some across the crisp skin (as well as on the excellent French fries). The honey’s sweetness sings mellifluous harmony with the chicken’s salty crust.
For dessert: peach or cherry pie, a la mode, please.