Fried chicken is one of the dishes that hardly anyone makes at home any more. It’s not as though that’s because America is eating more healthily, of course. Colonel Sanders led the parade of frying kettles out of our kitchens and into roadside businesses. This is not such a bad thing. It’s a lot more difficult to fry good chicken than it is to, say, roast a turkey. It also means that those people who believe in the American tradition that it’s just not a picnic without fried chicken have a place to relieve their anxiety. If you’re on the way to one, perhaps before the Muny or after softball, this is a fine spot to stop.
Porter’s Fried Chicken charms us. It’s not the setting, between a laundromat and a pool hall near the corner of Big Bend and Shrewsbury. The interior is tidy but hardly fashionable. A few booths for eat-in, a few chairs to wait for the carryout that most folks order. Nope, it’s all about the chicken. Not that it’s solely a chicken coop; there’s shrimp, cod, catfish and jack salmon, too, even hamburgers and toasted ravioli. And more good news, it’s available in a spicy version, too.
The crunchy regular chicken is moist, tasty and absolutely beautiful. The spicy has a different crust, this one cornmeal-based, and seems hotter than Popeye’s, the most popular spicy fried chicken hereabouts. We’re also fond of the corn fritters, very much like hush puppies but with some kernels in the inch-wide crunchy balls, slightly sweet and onion-y.
3628 Big Bend Blvd., Maplewood
Lunch & Dinner daily
Credit cards: All major