Best Fried Chicken - 2007
Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery
Every other day a truck of freshly slaughtered chickens leaves an Arkansas farm and makes a delivery to Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery, where owner Grant Young and his crack staff of local teens and twentysomethings plate up what just might be the tenderest, juiciest poultry west of the Mississippi River. "The youngest of the Youngs," as he describes himself, takes a certain pride in his birds, probably owing to the long history of Young's Restaurant, which was started by his parents, Bud and Marilyn, back in 1954, and has weathered two eminent-domain seizures and displacements related to the widening of State Road 141. Grant Young's chicken doesn't spend a second in the freeze; instead it dives into a lather of slightly salted water and the lightest of (secret) batters. From there it's off to the pressure fryer for a quick swim that seals in the bird's moisture far better than a deep fryer could ever dream of doing. Legs, thighs, breasts the combination plates come in an array big enough to quell the heartiest of appetites but at prices that permit a couple of ice cream cones to finish off the afternoon or evening. Says Young: "We don't advertise, but we grow every year." It's the chicken.