I'll Have What She's Having

Over the weekend we went to this restaurant called Rip’s that serves fried chicken. Let me change that – that serves the BEST fried chicken. My daughter and her husband had talked about taking us to this place for awhile, and we finally set a date to go there.

As you can see from the photo, Rip’s is in an unassuming building on Main Street in the small town of Ladd in Illinois.

The restaurant, itself, has no parking lot; all parking is on the street. Rip’s competes with a couple of other restaurants which I heard were pretty good, too, so parking is at a premium. Come early or you might have to walk a ways.

Expect to wait in line at least an hour. Grandpa had to feed Lily while we waited.

The dining room is tiny – seats about 50 people.

I get the idea that the people don’t mind waiting – it’s all part of the allure of Rip’s. You can grab a drink from the bar, play some video games while you wait, or just drink and chat with your friends in line, or whoever comes into the restaurant. The line forms from the dining room (with your mouth watering as you watch the people eat) all the way out the bar, out the restaurant, and sometimes even down the block. The chicken is THAT GOOD.

While you’re in line, a waitress comes by and asks you this question:
“Light or dark?”

That’s it. On Friday’s they also offer fish. Oh, yeah, and there’s an appetizer of fried mushrooms. Badda bing, badda boom. That’s the menu.

So you wait. And wait some more. And drink. And talk. And watch the big screen TV’s. FINALLY it’s your turn to be seated. By this time I have to put a bib on because I’m drooling so much I’m so dang hungry and it smells magnificent in there.

The waitress asks if we want “crispies”. “Yes!” My daughter reassures her.
A couple minutes later the waitress sets two small cardboard containers on the table; one between Jim and me; one between my daughter and her husband. Inside these containers is a little piece of heaven. They are drops of batter that are deep fried to a crisp.

They are crunchy, they are tasty, and a little greasy. AND THEY ARE TO DIE FOR. I wanted to lick the container out when we were through. I was actually getting mad at Jim for eating so fast. I felt like a dog being protective over his bone. Mine! This is probably why it’s good that I don’t carry a gun. STEP AWAY FROM THE CRISPIES AND NOBODY GETS HURT.

By now I’ve gone through numerous napkins, have grease dripping off my chin, and grease fingerprints on my glass. I am happier than a pig in doo-doo. I keep my eye on our waitress, willing her to bring our chicken to the table. I can hardly concentrate on what anyone is saying at the table. At one point she had platefuls of chicken, and if I were a dog I’d be sitting up begging with my tail a ‘thumping. But, alas, it was for the table next to us. I almost started growling! And then, and then. Yes! Here it is!

You may notice that the wing is missing from this piece. I was so hungry that I dove right into eating. I ripped the wing off and sunk my teeth into that delicious, hot, juicy, crunchy chicken and it was gone before I realized that I hadn’t taken a picture of it! Oops! I had to force myself to stop eating so I could snap a quick shot. Then back to the business at hand. Can I tell you how good it was? The skin was so crunchy. And the flavor. Mmmm. It was THE best chicken I have ever eaten. It was orgasmic. Truly. It was like this.

Here’s my daughter enjoying her chicken. She acted like a lady.

By the way - the chicken is served on paper plates with no silverware. Yes, folks, they encourage you to eat with your hands. Silverware is given by request only. Do you want to know the best part of Rip's chicken? Besides the taste, of course. The PRICE. $3.00 for dark meat; $3.50 for white meat and that includes fries. Such a deal. And I know that every time I go to visit my daughter? I will stop at Rip's for chicken. You'll know, too, by the grease stain on my shirt.
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