I stopped for chicken because it was on the way. Literally. On one of the lousiest weather/traffic nights in recent memory, with the road icing, snow falling, and temperature dropping, the only thing I wanted to do was get indoors and stay there.
My typical takeout places were not good options. Roma’s meant travelling back in the opposite direction, and L’Epicerie closes at 5 p.m. and I wouldn’t have made it on time. Chicken on the Way really is appropriately named, at least for me, as it presented itself on my drive home, sort of like a fast food burning bush.
I may have had their chicken at some point, but I know I haven’t been in their store before – I would have remembered. Besides the distinctive signage and giant chicken on 14 Street, there’s a sign inside stating that the restaurant has been owned by the same family for years, and that’s probably how long it’s been since they updated. It truly is a takeout place – there’s a counter to take orders, the kitchen, and nothing else.
The options are pretty self-explanatory: all things fried (chicken, fries, shrimp, fish, corn fritters) and coleslaw, and potato salad in various combination packages. My order was ready quickly, despite a line-up, and when I got it home, still hot. The portions are substantial for the low price you pay.
The chicken itself wasn’t bad. It’s closer to a KFC chicken than a southern, buttermilk-fried chicken, but the breading is a little lighter and less doughy than KFC’s. It is fried, so a certain amount of grease is a given, but this wasn’t overly shiny.
The fries, on the other hand, were some of the worst I’ve ever had. When I’d been at the restaurant, I’d noticed a sign handwritten in marker on a piece of cardboard announcing their fries were darker than usual due to high sugar content in the potatoes. They were dark indeed, but that wasn’t the problem. They were limp, not remotely crispy, and completely lacking in flavour. The gravy wasn’t much better. Though it wasn’t watery, it was really bland.
The redeeming factor was the corn fritters. Somewhat like the ones KFC used to make, these were a little sweet, good and salty, and the dough was fluffy. They could be downright addictive dipped in honey.
Overall, my experience with this Calgary institution fulfilled its purpose. I found takeout food that was fast and convenient. Those corn fritters are worth going out for the way for, but I wouldn’t even slow down for the fries or gravy.
On the ratings scale:
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Chicken on the Way (no website)
1415 Kensington Road NW