When I walked into the restaurant last night my feet stuck to the floor. The smell of grease choked me up a little, and I couldn’t hear my wife over the pressure cookers and fans. I assumed the fans were there to keep the sole employee from exploding like a CO2 cartridge in a bonfire.
I decided that I had done something bad without knowing it, and my wife was bringing me to Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken to punish me.
One of the fun things about visiting other cities is eating at restaurants we’ve never heard of. McDonald’s, Chipotle, and Waffle Houses are everyplace, so why eat at one of them in when you’re in Nashville or Columbus? We don’t like those damn places much even when we’re at home.
In Nashville I picked out a place called the Whiskey Diner—lots of dead cow and single malt scotch. However, my wife leaned heavily towards the Frothy Monkey, a hip coffee house with comfort food. I was skeptical, since we’re not hip, we’re suspicious of comfort, and neither of us drinks coffee. But I agreed to go with her to the Frothy Monkey for one excellent reason: when it turned out to be horrible I could hold it over her for the rest of the trip and achieve the moral high ground, from which I would dictate all future food decisions.
Sadly, the Frothy Monkey served up some pretty fine food. The grilled salmon sandwich did not suck. So, I arrived in Columbus with no record of being correct when she had blown it. When she suggested Uncle Nick’s I said, “Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken? Sure, sweetie, it sounds great. I’ll pull up the directions on my iPad, without which previous generations must have circled the same four blocks in bewilderment, until they gave up and built a new home on whatever sidewalk they had run out of gas beside.”
Uncle Nick’s had four parking spaces. That was fine, since it had three tables, also sticky. The only thing Greek about the chicken was that it shared a menu with gyros and baklava. The menu also offered family packs ranging up to 200 pieces of chicken with 300 orders of potatoes, which could be the right size for some Greek families I guess.
We ordered chicken from the skeezy guy leaning against the register. Then we waited. We waited some more. A fellow wearing flip-flops came in and picked up bags and bags of food. He might have been the 200-piece chicken guy. My wife was very quiet. Or, maybe she was talking a streak and I couldn’t hear her over all the pressure cookers. At last, Skeezy Guy brought us chicken. This is what it looked like.
Without exaggeration, it was the best fried chicken I’ve eaten in 20 years, damn it. I may not get to make another food-related decision for the rest of the trip.