The big restaurant buzz going around town this past week has been the arrival of Slappy’s Chicken. Slappy’s Chicken is located at 200 W Acadia Avenue in the old Acadia Grill location.
Scott Brandenburg, who’s been involved in the restaurant business for quite a while and has done stints at some of the local food establishments, decided it was time to get back into owning a restaurant. He previously owned a restaurant with his wife, but I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly where he said it was. I think it was Brevard, but I’m not asking you to take my word on that because I could be wrong. He said he recognized me from around town, I’m figuring it was from Meridian, as he worked there as a server for a bit.
Scott takes a very simplistic approach to chicken. Fry it, dip it in a special sauce of his own design and serve it with a side. Well, you may think that sounds very obvious, that’s what most places do. You’re right, but I don’t know if you’re getting the point. He only does chicken.
His menu consists of 3 items, not counting dessert and drinks: 1/4 dark (leg and thigh), 1/4 white (breast and wing) and 1/2 chicken (leg, thigh, breast, wing). Each of those items come with two sides and a roll.
The sides to choose from are: Mac & Cheese, Baked Beans, Collard Greens, Cole Slaw and Potato Salad. Pretty much what you’d want to see and eat accompanying chicken. The menu also invites you to gaze upon the dessert board for the dessert of the day. The day we went, it was pineapple refrigerator cake. There was a fountain with Pepsi products and, of course, you have to have Cheerwine since you’re eating chicken in North Carolina.
The sauce. That’s what makes Slappy’s Chicken unique. The sauce is sort-of-barbecueish. It’s a slightly sweet, yet quite spicy, sauce that completely covers the bird. There’s a hint of some Cajun seasoning and I’m thinking some honey. To the unaware, this can come off as really hot. Stephanie, who doesn’t do hot, was sucking wind a little bit, but she ate the whole thing (she had the 1/4 dark). She said it was very spicy but she could handle it. My son, Trey, likes spicy and he said it was a bit “warm,” but also he liked it on his 1/4 dark. I found it to be more than I was expecting but not more than I liked. I thought the flavor and the heat profile to be just right once I was acclimated. I really liked the sweet heat that came from it.
I asked Scott if he made the chicken without the sauce and he said he most certainly did. Many have asked for it “dry” with the sauce on the side. Me, being the fan of chicken breast as I am, will probably opt for that the next time I go and I will go back. I want to taste the chicken with the sauce, not just the sauce with some chicken. That’s not at all a knock, it’s just a matter of tasting the wares; knowing what I’m working with.
Stephanie had hers with mac & cheese and potato salad. Trey had his with beans and mac & cheese. I had the mac & cheese and collard greens. Mac & cheese seemed to be the side of choice for the evening as I saw a few others with it on their plate, as well.
Now, here’s the caveat. We were there at 7:40pm. They close at 8pm. We were the next to last order taken for the evening. In fact, I got the very last 1/4 white plate, Scott said he’d run out because of the run of customers. He said he’s been doing that all week. But, to me the mac & cheese was a little dry. I know they weren’t making a new batch after at least 7pm. I get that, no worries.I added the obligatory Texas Pete that I always have with my mac & cheese and it was just right. Someone asked me on Instagram on a scale of 1-10 what would I rate the mac & cheese and I said 5 but I wanted to try it again. The flavor was fine, but it was dry. Again, it was the last batch of the evening and while some may throw up that “it should be great no matter what,” I’m not of that school. I completely get it and because I plan on going back – more than a few times – I’ll have it again. I’ll rethink my rating of that after having a second helping. The collards, they were on point. I added a little vinegar, as I do, and all is right in the world.
The decor is “old school diner” and there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe Scott wanted to keep with the history of the place and the Acadia Grill was a mainstay for a long time in that area. It’s updated and clean. There’s even an old mantelpiece with mirrors in the second dining room to corral some of that old-time charm. I like that.
I believe that Scott’s Slappy’s Chicken is what is needed in the Washington Park area. I think the food is fantastic, just beware if you don’t like spicy (order the sauce on the side to test it). The sides are simple but just the way you want them. I honestly believe that the simplicity of the establishment is what is going to make it work so well. The less you wrangle with as a customer, the less they wrangle with in the kitchen, the less wait and speculation about your food. You want fast and “comfort.” That’s what you’re going to get at Slappy’s Chicken. It’s not called Slappy’s Chicken and a Bunch of Other Stuff. Simple. Delicious.
Winner, winner chicken dinner. Yeah, I had to go there.
I rate Slappy’s 4.25 stars out of 5.