Monday, February 1, 2010

Ramble: ChickenFreak's Restaurant Fantasy (Frying chicken for the good of humanity. Or Dalmations.)

I have a fantasy of running a restaurant. But there's a problem with it, caused by the fact that my reality TV niche of choice is British-influenced restaurant shows such as Kitchen Nightmares, with failing restaurant owners begging for rescue from British chef Gordon Ramsay.

This has taught me that running a restaurant is emphatically not something that I could ever dream of doing successfully. Or at least, not successfully and while making a profit. That puts a damper on the restaurant fantasy.

I've solved the problem with some backstory. In the fantasy, my distant (and fictional) Uncle Horace, who feels that a nice girl like me should get away from the compiler and into the kitchen, has left me several million dollars. But I only get the money if I run a restaurant with it. To motivate me to go along with this disastrous plan, Uncle Horace has specified that if I refuse, the money will be donated to some dreadful soul-sucking organization - the Cruella Deville Foundation, let's say.

See how easy? I must open a restaurant.

OK, backstory complete and on to the fantasy.

The restaurant, of course, would be a chicken shack. I'm picturing an old one-story clapboard building in a nice small town somewhere, rescued by ChickenFreak Foods, lovingly re-sided and painted in a variety of bright circus colors. We'd change the circus colors every couple of years. This should convince any chicken-resistant townsfolk to come by once in a while, to see the restaurant transformed from sky blue, butter yellow, and magenta to forest green, fire-engine red, and sunshine yellow. And so on. If that doesn't do the job, maybe we'll try some murals.

The parking lot would be re-paved in red brick; after all, I need to use up Uncle Horace's money before I can get out of the chicken business. There would be box planters of red geraniums, and canvas umbrellas in those same circus colors, shading (of course) brightly painted picnic tables.

The paint explosion would continue inside, where you'd step up to the gleaming painted-wood counter and order your chicken. Fried chicken, American-southern-style pan-fried chicken, the kind that used to require a half-hour wait, back when it was available at restaurants at all. Looking past the counter into the kitchen area, you'd see the three giant cast-iron skillets, dozens of pieces being fried, manned by an always alert world-class fry cook with tongs in hand.

In addition to chicken, the fantasy includes shoestring french fries, fresh-cut and double-fried in pure lard right in the restaurant. And potato salad. And cole slaw. And deviled eggs. And for those who want an occasional nonfat bite, vinegary cucumber salad, and pickles, and peaches in season, and watermelon in season. And the peaches and watermelon would always be served with a tiny packet of salt.

And there'd be soda, in glass bottles. Coke and Dr. Pepper with cane sugar. And RC Cola. And Boylan's. And Cheerwine. And so on. A big old glass-door cooler with a multicolored display of hundreds of gleaming bottles. And outside, one of those old-fashioned Coke machines to serve the cravings of those that arrive after the restaurant's closed.

What else do I need? Got to get some bacon in there somehow. And would Hawaiian-style macaroni salad be off topic? And do you have a restaurant fantasy?

Mmm. Chicken.

Photo: By Andreas Dobler. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. OK, now you've done it....I am so hungry for fried chicken, cucumber salad and watermelon topped off with a Dr. Pepper ;^0

  2. Howdy, Noelle!

    Woohoo! I've succeeded in Craving Transfer!

  3. I'd definitely frequent a brightly painted fried chicken restaurant with a vast array of colas. That's all I'd need! Aren't there restaurants out there that only serve variations of macaroni and cheese or peanut butter sandwiches?? Your idea sounds more my taste :D

  4. Thanks, Kyna! I'd definitely eat at my restaurant. Sadly, I can't see any way that it would ever make a profit, even if someone who (unlike me) knew what they were doing started it. :)

  5. I wasn't sure whether you grew up in the South until now: Cheerwine? Yep. Definitely Southern-bred.

  6. Hee. :) Based on number of childhood years, I'm half Southern - Nashville - and half midwestern - St. Louis.