Restaurant review: Mya’s Fried Chicken

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From the September 27, 2012 edition

Fried chicken is divisive. I write this because it’s one of those foods that makes usually reasonable (OK, occasionally reasonable) people carry on like unpleasable idealists eager to disagree.

For instance, I’m sure you’ve witnessed someone recommend fried chicken to another eater (who’s undoubtedly nostalgic for an allegedly hallowed version tasting better in memory than on the plate) who’ll later pooh-pooh said recommendation harshly. Why such doubters — many of whom will regularly rip through greasy pizzas and cheap hamburgers — apply such exalted standards to fried chicken specifically is a continual source of confusion and humor to me.

For narrative structure and to circumvent this fate, I’ll employ compare and contrast tactics on the fine fried chicken and better-than-grandma-style accessories I recently tried at Mya’s fried chicken truck. Here goes.

Since Harlan Sanders was dubbed an honorary Kentucky colonel after achieving fame selling fried chicken out of a gas station, I expect the proprietors of Mya’s — it operates out of a Clintonville convenience store parking lot — will achieve a decidedly higher ranking. General Mya’s fried chicken anyone? Chief of staff Mya’s? How about Secretary of Poultry Mya’s?

Mya’s menu closely resembles KFC’s, and that makes comparing it easy. For starters, at KFC, eight grease-leaking, fat-and-batter-caked, factory-farm-raised and incredibly salty little chicken pieces (might feed three) with four pretty good biscuits and two large sides cost $19. At Mya’s, $20 will get you eight surprisingly large pieces (can feed four or more) of clean-tasting, tender and juicy, slightly greasy Ohio-raised chicken with a light and crispy crust enlivened by rosemary. Oh, and it’s paired with four heavy duty, golden-brown biscuits that are nearly as sweet as cornbread.

Side-wise, Mya’s homey, smoky-from-bacon green beans and dense, skin-on, authentically lumpy “smashed” redskin potatoes regally crowned with a satiny and outstanding, pan-dripping gravy flaunting concentrated chicken flavor admittedly cost extra ($4 each for medium-sized servings). But compared to KFC’s watery green beans and pathetically rehydrated, box-tasting ‘taters, like Mya’s chicken, those sides are indisputably worth just a few dollars more.

Photo by Tim Johnson