Belgrade Gardens

Chicken Dinner
One of the best

Barberton chicken, served at a handful of restaurants in the Akron suburb, is not like other fried chicken. Cooked in lard, it has an unspeakably luxurious red gold crust; and it differs from ordinary fast-food fried chicken not only by the dripping moistness its crust encases, but by its shape. It is cut the old-fashioned way into wing, drumette, breast, leg, thigh, and back, an economical technique left over from Depression days when cooks tried to maximize the number of pieces they could get from one chicken. When you sink your teeth into a piece, you may find meat where you might not expect meat; but let us assure you that every bite is delicious. It is not for nothing that Barberton lays claim to being the chicken capital of the world.

Belgrade Gardens, since 1933, is the original source of this goodness; and while the menu is broad – including steaks, chops, seafood, sandwiches, and some really good chicken paprikash – first-time visitors need to get the full chicken dinner. You can get white or dark meat or a combination or a plate of nothing but legs, thighs, backs, wings or tenders. Each is available small, medium, and large.

The chicken itself is the center of a ritual feast that also includes a bowl of kaleidoscopically spicy tomato-rice hot sauce. At a table near ours, a woman was telling her friends that she used to come to Belgrade Gardens every week. “My mother would always take home hot sauce to try to duplicate the recipe,” she said. “She came close, but father never allowed that she had done it.” In addition to the sauce, you get a timbale of sweet cole slaw, and a fistful of French fries plus a basket of white and dark bread.

What to Eat
Belgrade Gardens, Chicken Dinner
Chicken Dinner
Lard-fried goodness
Belgrade Gardens, Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is loaded with little noodles and bits of meat.
Belgrade Gardens, Dumpling Soup
Dumpling Soup
The dumplings in chicken dumpling soup are big, soft pillows of dough.
Belgrade Gardens, Hot Sauce
Hot Sauce
Barberton chicken hot sauce is a dish of spicy stewed tomatoes that is a bright relish with zest and moistness that are a foil for the crunchy crust of the chicken.
Belgrade Gardens, Cole Slaw
Cole Slaw
The slaw arrives as a handsome timbale. It is simple slaw: tart more than sweet, with a nice cabbage crunch.
Belgrade Gardens, Chicken Paprikash
Chicken Paprikash
Belgrade Garden's chicken paprikash is terrific. It comes with big 4x2-inch dumplings that are great for soaking in the peppery sauce.
Directions and Hours
open now
Sunday12pm - 7pm
Monday12pm - 7pm
Tuesday12pm - 7pm
Wednesday12pm - 7pm
Thursday12pm - 7pm
Friday12pm - 7pm
Saturday12pm - 7pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 63 MILES | 1 hr 16 min

Scenery-wise, it's not the Pas de Calais or the Beartooth Highway, but an Ohio road trip from the shores of Lake Erie to Rubber City (Akron) is an eager appetite's dream. It is a feat to get out of Cleveland with any appetite at all if you spend time grazing around the West Side Market,…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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