Jay Fox's Dining Guide

EAT MOR CHIKIN?

“I would like to find a stew that will give me heartburn immediately,
instead of at three o’clock in the morning.” — John Barrymore

CHICK-FIL-A RESTAURANT
5260 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood
720-922-1999; www.chickfila.com

OPENING AT THE SITE OF THE FORMER Black-eyed Pea in Lakewood is the 66th stand-alone Chick-fil-A store slated to open this year. Nationally, there are, at this writing more than 1523 stores in 38 states. This will be the 920th stand-alone store. This will be the first stand-alone store in Lakewood. In addition, there are 336 mall stores (including Southwest Plaza), and 214 license locations (universities, colleges, airports, etc.). That’s a growth trend to scare some financial planner but not the folks at Chick-fil-A.

The promise of a Chick-fil-A has caused a wild stir of excitement in our family. Wife G craves Chick-fil-A. She wants the original chicken sangie with extra pickles, an order of waffle fries, and the extra large house-made lemonade. Grandson Grant is the real aficionado. Chicken nuggets, waffle fries and a fruit cup, accompanied by an ice-cold lemonade. If he’s been good, he can have a shake. If he knows he might go to Chick-fil-A, he’s an angel. But other times…

Owner Operator John Barker moved here with his family from Texas. I think they came just cuz of the skiing, cuz they’re all avid outdoorsmen. But y’all shouldn’t hold that against him; he’s really a good guy. Both his son and daughter worked at Chick-fil-A in Texas. His daughter will work at the new store as well as his wife. I’m not going to tell you their names cuz you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between family workers and the others. They are all top-notch workers who have been well trained.

The new store will give away one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals (52 coupons) to the first 100 adults in line. Proper identification is required. Customers can start lining up on Wednesday, October 27th at 6 a.m. The store will open for business at 6 a.m. on Thursday, October 28th. The award coupons will be given out at approximately 6 a.m. Thursday morning. If there are more than 100 persons in line, there will be a raffle drawing to determine the recipients of the awards. For more info, check out their website www.chickfila.com.

As for the food. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the menu, but I’m gonna run thru the basics, plus the two new items. First is the new spicy chicken. Eh. It didn’t turn me on. It seemed that chicken and spices don’t really go together. But hey, you will get your chance to vote by buying it and re-buying it. The other new item is the spicy chicken nuggets. Everything at Chick-fil-A is made from scratch fresh on premises. Even the biscuits are made from scratch fresh every morning. This is the good stuff.

But I do luv the original chicken sangie, hold the pickles. Slop on some mayo or some new Chick-fil-A sauce. Toss in a thin (just like me) shake. I’ll swipe a few of G’s waffle fries, and I’m a happy camper. As to the rest of the menu…it’s surprisingly more expansive than you would think.

For breakfast, from 6 a.m. til 10:30 a.m. you can order bacon, egg and cheese biscuits, chick-n-minis, chicken, egg & cheese bagel, cinnamon clusters, yogurt goop, and other some-might-consider goodies. They’ve also recently added 100 percent Columbian Coffee to their menu. A few items sound quite strange to me, but I might be tempted to try them since this new store is just down the road apiece.

For lunch and dinner, they offer a variety of sangies, including char-grilled chicken, the original boneless, skinless chicken breast (hand-breaded and pressure cooked) and the new spicy chicken sangie. They also offer chick-n-strips and chicken nuggets. There are several salads on the menu including a char-grilled & fruit salad and a carrot & raisin salad as well as cole slaw and a fruit cup. They even serve a maaavelous breast of chicken soup. And that’s the core of the menu. There are a variety of desserts and shakes, and the best waffle fries in town. Even their New York style cheesecake is delish.

In 2009 Chick-fil-A used 162 million pounds of chicken, which my family consumed a substantial part of. They also sold 147 million pounds of waffle fries and used more than 150 million lemons to make its freshly squeezed lemonade.

The company is extremely family-oriented and maintains the highest employee standards. Folks take jobs with Chick-fil-A just cuz they’re great to work for. You should check out their website. It is well designed, very informative and interesting reading. www.chickfila.com. Probably the best website I’ve ever visited.

I must tell you, these are the nicest people in the world to work with. Everyone from their corporate communications department thru to the local stores. You’ll find the folks that staff the counters are friendly, efficient and loving their jobs. The management team has a terrific work ethic and a desire to help the community they live in. I’ve never talked to such enthusiastic folks.

At this new store there will be 130 seats inside, 24 seats outside. The store is open Monday thru Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Sundays. And that’s a wrap. Almost.

Sometimes I get a comment from readers when I didn’t say anything negative about the eatery. After all, I am No More Mr. Nice Guy. OK, there’s one negative. The peanut oil used in frying. I have another grandson, Carter, who is extremely allergic to peanuts. And most everything else. The one thing he can and does eat lots of is chicken. But since the chicken here is cooked in peanut oil, that’s off limits. I did talk to some folks at corporate about it, and they sent me a very detailed report. The oil they use is a heat processed fully refined peanut oil which strips out all the proteins. To make a very long story short, no one really knows if this is 100 percent safe for persons allergic to peanuts. Carter’s doctor knows about this product and wants to err on the side of caution and not allow him to eat any product with any type of peanut oil. So for now, Carter and his family don’t eat at Chick-fil-A. But all the rest of the family is there regularly.

Bubble & Squeak
A word to the Pepsi folks. I can’t believe anyone carries your product anymore cuz your customer service is… let’s be nice and say “lots less than satisfactory.” Restaurants don’t like you cuz you don’t do anything for them and in fact provide poor service, whereas the Coke folks do everything, and your reputation with little guys like me is even worse. Not that I care for the taste of Coke, but stick a lemon rind in a Diet Coke and you almost got yerself a DP… One of muh fav bugger joints has closed its doors. The Counter in Park Ghetto is gone gone gone. Seems they think folks couldn’t find the store… if you haven’t been to Hops Grill (8026 W. Bowles Ave, 303-948-6540; www.hopsonline.com) — there are only two left in metro Denver, and four nationwide — and tried their potato pancakes, you haven’t lived. I mean 2-die-4. As in I’ve been there 9 times in the past four weeks. All their food is terrific and they have the best patio on a lake anywhere, so why you don’t all go every day is beyond me. But them spuds will blow your mind. Only available until October 31st cuz they’re an Oktoberfest special. Write a letter….please…and if you haven’t had the Boston Clam Chowder at Delaney’s Deli in Belmar you haven’t had it as good as it gets. G and I have been to Legal Seafood (an eastern only chainery) where they serve the best seafood in the world, and Delaney’s is just as good… the other nite G made her famous Dinner Redeaux — that nite was pork tenderloin, roast potatoes and cooked apples. Yum!

A final note. The quotation at the top is dedicated to my old friend (whom I believe is alive and well living north of the border) — the beloved dining critic Bill St. John. I don’t know if he uttered those words before or after John Barrymore, but he certainly uttered them… at lunch at Pint’s Pub.

Cya.

We may have to rename this column. Our dining critic sounds absolutely nice this week! You can reach Mr. Fox at jay@jayfoxcpa.com.