happy chicks

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On their website, Happy Chicks hosts a Yelp review from Larry W. that says, “These are, hands down, the absolute best chicken tenders I’ve ever had in my life!” I don’t know Larry W., how old he is, how many different chicken tenders he’s eaten, or his favorite beer, but when I tried Happy Chick’s chicken tenders, I realized that Larry is a wise, wise man. Indeed, these are the best damn chicken tenders I’ve ever noshed. If chicken tenders could wear angel wings, these would have ’em. The chicken is supple, juicy, and (cough, cough) tender while caped in a perfectly crunchy and savory exterior, each piece miraculously bearing the pull-apart and crispy tension of the perfect fry.

If you go for the Happy Chick (three tenders, one happy sauce, roasted cream corn, and fries; $10), you also get the fries (an angrier version of Hyde Park’s delightful fried spuds) and the honest-to-goodness roasted cream corn. The bacon mac & cheese ($3) was fine but more arm candy than tongue dancer. There are 15 fresh-made happy sauces to choose from for dipping, including raspberry chipotle, avocado poblano, chipotle ranch, and country gravy. Not on the online menu is the Chick’s entry to the fried chicken sandwich wars with an expertly fried chicken breast (with lettuce, chooped pickles, happy sauce, and fries; $10); however, because of that beautiful tender-crunchy tension, the sandwich turns into a sloppy, napkin-heavy wrestling match.

My one complaint is that the spicy versions of their fare had me wondering if I had been mis-served because there was nary a flicker or reddening of heat on my orders. Perhaps my tongue is as dead as I am inside, but having fought to the eternal darkness with a spicy chicken tender at Tumble 22, these Happy Chicks need to get Angry. Something else to consider is that the bright and cheery indoor space is tiny with a mere four tables, which can be eaten up with folks waiting for to-go orders (note that to-go orders can take a wee bit since the chicken is fried fresh). There is plenty of outdoor seating, but that is challenging during rains and blistering summers. Nonetheless, the two rainy days I went, I was able to find a place to sit indoors despite the busy-ness.

When I first walked into Happy Chicks, I wondered: “Does Burnet Road really need another chicken joint?” After trying these glorious chicken tenders, the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” With Happy Chicks joining Lucy’s Fried Chicken, Tumble 22, Flyrite Chicken, and Top Notch, perhaps we need to name that stretch Burnet Brooders, Gizzard Grove, Rooster Row, or “Down” Town.

I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.

web&where: interwebs; 6425 burnet road; (512) 467-4209
what’s the deal? the best damn chicken tenders you’ll ever have; fast casual, limited indoor seating
overall: ** (food**; drink*; atmosphere*; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $

our scale:
–          meh [think twice]
*         OK [it’ll get the job done]
**       good [solid neighborhood joint]
***     damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
****   yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]

each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

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