If you are a chicken living in Dallas County, I urge you to run for your life. Restaurants with menus centered on fried chicken are hatching in neighborhoods all over North Texas. A few months ago chef DJ Quintanilla and co-owner Linda Mazzei opened Fat Chicken in the space where they operated Resto Gastro Bistro which closed at the end of 2016. Quickly, they redid the interior, called a poultry purveyor, and got busy making fried chicken.
Fat Chicken is not a fancy pants restaurant and it isn’t a chicken-by-the bucket joint. The chicken, and all other items, are served on mismatched plates. Some of the cocktails are served in tin cans. They only sell chicken by-the-bucket to go on Monday nights ($20). The rest of the time, you can take a seat inside the cutesy dining room filled with chicken paintings, red and white napkins and accents, and a bright red pie cart.
The menu offers fried chicken, Korean chicken, roasted chicken, chicken tacos, and, everybody’s favorite, chicken and donuts. At least it was everybody’s favorite the day I dropped in for lunch. Four people at a table of eight next to me gleefully ordered chicken and donuts. This sugary and sweet greasy protein concoction does not appeal to me, but this isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in the minority. I watched all four clean their plates.
I played it straight and ordered a two-piece dark meat chicken dinner with coleslaw and a biscuit. I was served a thigh and a leg. Both were lightly breaded. I added a ton of pepper to spike up the flavor a bit. The coleslaw was nothing special and I found the biscuit a little on the heavy side.
A deep-fried chicken bathed in spicy chili paste was a hit. The accompanying sticky rice came in handy as a heat buster. And the dang house-made pickles were spectacular. The Hack Chicken salad was also a winner. The Asian-themed bowl was filled with soy-seared chicken, slaw, sweet chilies, and wontons tossed in a light sesame vinaigrette. The house-made Granny’s lemonade is perfect for a hot summer lunch and the Granny’s “special” lemonade is the same refreshing beverage spiked with vodka. That’s Dallas in a glass. I’m sorry, a tin can.