Memorable | One of the Best
Chicken Coop | Gas Station Fried Chicken in Virginia
Review by: Michael Stern
Virginia is for Fried Chicken Lovers
If you’re an adventurous eater exploring the foodscape in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, look for gas station fried chicken. In a state known for great fried chicken, this area rates among the best. The Chicken Coop down Route 29 in Lovingston proves that point. Most of its shelves inside hold typical convenience store fare – beef jerky, beer, motor oil, energy drinks, etc. But a small area in one corner earns accolades for fried chicken.
How to Get Your Meal
Step up to the window and order by the piece or as a meal. Meals include seasoned potato wedges, a roll, and a choice of cole slaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad. You get a little ticket with a price written on it. Take the ticket to the front counter. Here, you wait in line with lotto hopefuls and people coming in from the gas pumps. Pay for your meal, return to the small dining area near the chicken window, and prepare to feast.
What Makes It So Good?
Abundant battered crust envelops each piece. The crust sports so many facets and angles that you want to call it rococo. Salt and a gentle infusion of herbs make each bite of crust and meat a delicious duet. This chicken does not come as an exclamation mark. Its full flavor and gentle zest make it comfort food supreme. For super succulence, order thighs. Drumsticks deliver massive amounts of crunchy crust. Breasts balance fatty luxury with white meat as palliative as cream. I asked the woman in the kitchen what makes this gas station fried chicken so good. Is it a particular herb or spice? She responded with a Sphinxlike look and said simply, “It’s not spice; it’s how you cook it.” Whatever subtleties define her technique, I do know that fresh, clean frying oil is definitely part of the picture. This bird glows!
You might find slightly cheaper gas along this stretch of Route 29, but I doubt if you will find better (or cheaper) fried chicken. Other Roadfood-recommended fried chickens in the Charlottesville area include Wayside Takeout & Catering, Brownsville Market, Ace Biscuit & BBQ, and Brown’s.
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