Chicken Coop – Portage
J and I were planning on going out for dinner tonight, but when I looked over at her laying on the couch around 7:00, she had a hard time keeping her eyes opened. Instead, I opted to go get dinner and we’d just veg on the couch.
Since I had pizza for lunch, I didn’t really want that again. I turned to my other go-to, fried chicken.
A month or so ago, we did carry-out from the Chicken Coop on Westnedge in Kalamazoo. We really liked the chicken we had that night, but I had a coupon that was good at the Portage Chicken Coop. I could get more chicken for five bucks less than I paid last time, so I went that way.
The Chicken Coop in Portage is on Centre Street at Westnedge. It’s one of four locations owned by the same person. The others are the Kalamazoo Sprinkle Road location, Paw Paw, and Watervliet. The Chicken Coop on South Westnedge is not part of the group. I point that out for a reason which you will see in a little bit.
The store is a small building in a huge parking lot. It sits a little way off both Centre and Westnedge. When you enter, you come in to the order counter. It’s a very small area that was packed with people waiting for carry-out orders. Since I had a coupon, I knew what I wanted and handed it to the cashier. My order was for 10 pieces mixed, two sides, and six rolls. I got fries for myself and baked beans for J. The total cost was a little over $15.
Another guy picked chicken that was under a heat lamp on the counter and put it into a box. He did the same with fries from under a heat lamp. He told me to grab the baked beans out of the cooler behind me. Turns out, there were none in there, but someone else in the back pulled another container out of a cooler in the back. He then grabbed some rolls that were already packaged in a plastic bag and bagged everything up for me. The box the chicken was in was already soaked from the grease.
When I got home, J asked if I went to the same place. The chicken didn’t look at all like what we had last time. I told her it was a different one, but still a Chicken Coop, so I assumed it would be the same.
While I was opening the chicken, she put a fork into the baked beans and almost did a spit take. She didn’t realize they came out of a cooler. They were cold and she was expecting hot. They are baked beans…why wouldn’t you expect them hot? After she realized it, they went into the microwave, but she still didn’t eat a whole lot. The portion size was big enough for a family and she probably only ate a few fork fulls. There’s a pretty big tub of beans in our fridge right now.
The fries were typical restaurant fries. They were nice and warm and had a little bit of salt of them. Again, the portion size was huge, so I shared some of them with her. We finished those off because cold fries aren’t good. Everything else we got works for a later meal.
The chicken. Well, definitely not like we got from the S. Westnedge store. It was greasy, slimy, and sort of rubbery. It wasn’t very appetizing. The menu claims they are the “Home of Crispy Chicken.” There was no crisp anywhere on the chicken. The color was a very pale brown instead of the really dark, deep fried color. I ate three pieces, but I’m not sure J made it through one. My hope is that it will be better cold. When it was warm, it was way too greasy.
This experience at the Chicken Coop was the complete opposite of our last visit to a Chicken Coop. I know the two locations have different owners, but I still figured they would be close to the same since it is a chain (it is, right?). I think the difference was the heat lamps. When I got chicken from the S. Westnedge location, the chicken took a second dunk the deep fryer after I placed my order which crisped it up. If you just go back to that review and look at the chicken, you’ll see a huge different from the chicken in the picture below. This time, it came right from the heat lamp to my table. I know next time we order chicken, we’ll be going back to the location in the Southside neighborhood.