One block downtown, one dish, three restaurants, three ways: fried chicken has been a staple of the South since the beginning, and the progressive side of Raleigh is shaking it up.
The Raleigh Times:
One serving of fried chicken skins with Texas Pete, two waters–$6.41*
Anyone who has eaten fried chicken knows the skin is practically the best part. Trendy bar and restaurant Raleigh Times has ironically added the homestyle food to their ‘hip’ menu.
The dish itself is a Southerner’s dream: crunchy with a great flavor. As the strong, glorious taste continues, diners find themselves adding the Texas Pete with every other bite to add variety to the flavor.
This particular salty treat is said to be best with ranch in addition to the Texas Pete, advice courtesy of a very snack-savvy waiter. Whatever condiments you may prefer, may I recommend bringing a partner-in-dine to consume the greasy, hipster goodness.
Overall, the overwhelming platter was highly palatable, but the pretentious air was not.
Beasley’s Chicken and Honey:
Two pieces of fried chicken, two waters–$8.08*
To get one fact straight: The honey is not drizzled on the fried chicken, rather it is part of the bake used on the chicken. Almost undetectable, the honey seems to add very little to the otherwise amazing fried chicken. The moist meat explained the crowd pooling around the entrance, but the honey did not. Quite frankly, it seems the honey just melted into the rest of the fried flavor, leaving it tasting rather odd. My vote: Leave the honey for the famous chicken and waffles dish, and let the fabulous dark meat be. There is a reason we don’t cook it with honey, anyway.
Two pieces of chicken, two sides, two fountain drinks–$10.94*
The pure comfort level of this historic establishment (est. 1930) is striking against the background of posh eateries. That is enough for me.
With the classic dark wood panels and thin mirrors on the walls, along with little knick knacks scattered behind the bar, the historical charm is evident. And diners cannot help but be elated by the personable wait staff and budget friendlier prices.
The chicken was average–but that still means yummy–and the oven roasted potatoes and collards were to die for. It seems this restaurant is for the local, the Southerner in the South. However, the dim and cozy atmosphere adds a sense of safety in the edgy concrete jungle, something any person could find solace in.
Overall, Mecca is grandma-standard, and that is just the way I like it.