Post Dispatch says Gallagher's Fried Chicken is Best in the St Louis Metro-East Area
If my posts have been far and few between lately it is because I have been on some fried chicken odyssey. In May the St Louis Post Dispatch began a contest for readers to vote for their favorite fried chicken. The Post then visited the top 5 restaurants and reviewed the chicken with large color photos and a continuing dialogue that also included their web site. To make a long story less tedious, Gallagher's was named best. Upsetting Hodak's (a restaurant specialising in fried chicken since time immemorial) reign. Since then we have been seating record breaking crowds, who knew St Louisans loved fried chicken so much?
Originally we only served fried chicken on Sundays, and it was the only thing we served on Sunday, family style. Since the article was published we have added it to the regular menu as so many people were arriving for fried chicken every night of the week. Many became irate that we didn't offer fried chicken all the time eventhough the article clearly stated it was only available on Sundays. Fried chicken done properly is not an easy task.
Our chicken is fresh-never frozen-brined for at least 12 hours, then hand breaded, and fried in small batches. The traditional sides are corn custard, mashed potatoes, gravy, long simmered green beans with ham, biscuits, and a home style dessert made by Mrs Gallagher. Seriously, I've had one long-time cook quit over it all-he wanted to cook somthing "fancier". We reworked all the recipes to expand the numbers being served, as well as purchasing new equipment. It was almost like starting over as all the recipes had to be tested and re-tested. All new equipment has its own learning curve to it until everyone is used to working with it.
The first week the article came out we served 310 dinners, there was a 2 hour wait for tables, and another 45 minutes before I could get food to the table. Keep in mind previous to the article, we usually served betwee 150 and 200. One disgruntled guest declared that the Post must have been drunk when they named us best. Last week I am happy to report we served 380 guests with minimal waits for tables and 8 minutes for me to get chicken to the tables. Since we do not share the chicken recipe, here is a picture of one of our lovely servers taking a tray of the platters of food to the table.