Chicken Coop

Chicken Dinner | Grocery Store
Memorable
One of the best
Save

In and around Charlottesville, Virginia, some of the best fried chicken is found in some of the most innocuous gas station mini marts. The Exxon station in Lovingston is a sterling example. While most of the shelves inside hold typical convenience store fare – beef jerky, beer, motor oil, energy drinks, etc. – a small area in one corner is devoted to fried chicken.

Step up to the window and order by the piece or as a meal of 2 to 20 pieces that includes seasoned potato wedges, a roll, and a choice of cole slaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad. You are given a little ticket with a price written on it. Take the ticket to the front counter, where you wait in line with lotto ticket purchasers, people coming in from the gas pumps, and devotees of fried chicken. Pay for your meal, return to the small dining area near the chicken window, and feast.

Coop chicken is enveloped in an abundant battered crust with so many facets and angles you want to call it rococo. It is salted just right and sports a toasty, gently herbed taste. There is no exclamation mark about this chicken; it is real comfort food with endless good flavor. Thighs are super succulent; drumsticks deliver massive amounts of crunchy crust; breasts are a scrumptious balance of fatty luxury and white meat as palliative as cream. When I asked the woman in the kitchen what made this chicken so good — is it a particular herb or spice? — she offered a Sphinxlike look and said simply, “It’s not spice; it’s how you cook it.” Whatever subtleties of technique are involved, 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.

What to Eat
Chicken Coop, 2 Piece Chicken Dinner
2 Piece Chicken Dinner
Must-Try
A two-piece chicken dinner includes a drumstick and breast, potato wedges, a roll, and your choice of cole slaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad. None of the accoutrements are remarkable, but the chicken is well worth a detour off Route 29.
Directions and Hours
Open Today
Sunday9 am - 8 pm
Monday6 am - 7 pm
Tuesday6 am - 7 pm
Wednesday6 am - 7 pm
Thursday6 am - 7 pm
Friday6 am - 8 pm
Saturday6 am - 8 pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 1 hr 7 min total driving
Information
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie

    North Garden, Virginia

    An exuberantly hip Virginia restaurant with a menu of excellent pizzas, Dr. Ho’s also offers fabulous locally-sourced salads and the best hot milk cake.

  • Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant

    Staunton, Virginia

    A large, tourist-friendly restaurant just off I-81 in Staunton, Mrs. Rowe’s is an easy opportunity to enjoy southern comfort-food classics, three meals a day.

  • Brownsville Market

    Crozet, Virginia

    A snack bar inside a Shell gas station, Brownsville Market serves all sorts of hot meals. Four-star Virginia fried chicken has been its claim to fame for years.

  • Brown’s

    Charlottesville, Virginia

    A Charlottesville gas-station mini-mart, Brown’s serves some of the best fried chicken in an especially chicken-rich part of Virginia.

  • Wayside Takeout & Catering

    Charlottesville, Virginia

    In Charlottesville, a city of excellent fried chicken, Wayside is a standout. Available by piece or platter, it is magnificently juicy and peppered just-right.

  • Ace Biscuit & Barbecue

    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Ace of Charlottesville, Virginia, makes everything from scratch, extraordinarily well. Not just biscuits and BBQ; also pancakes, waffles & fried chicken.