BAY ST. LOUIS -- Almost as odd as finding a restaurant named The Grumpy Chicken in a beach town is entering and seeing design elements that resemble a 1950s era diner intermingled with Delta Blues memorabilia and a few kitschy chickens.
Since opening the restaurant last month in the former Scafidi's Wheel-Inn, 820 U.S. 90, Bay St. Louis, Josh and Delainey Meaders' creative spirit has extended to the growing menu.
The Grumpy Chicken serves a variety of favorites, including chicken and sausage gumbo and the restaurant's signature chicken and waffles.
New Orleans native Josh got his food service experience working for Hattiesburg restaurant Chesterfield's, known for its original mojo sauce and creative chicken dishes.
Light and tasty
Grumpy Chicken's take on the classic chicken and waffles dish is different from others. Instead of slathering heavily breaded fried chicken with maple syrup and serving it on top of a waffle, Grumpy Chicken and Waffle's version ($10.99) is highlighted by maple chicken "gravy," a light, sweet concoction that is neither heavy nor sticky.
The "gravy" complements the lightly breaded, crispy deboned chicken thigh, creating a candied skin that is delicious without overpowering the taste buds.
The waffles are crisp and light, too.
The Meaderses are proud of the signature dish, and rightfully so, but in my opinion, the dish that rules the roost is the fried chicken, served in dinners with your options of pieces and side dish ranging from $6.79-$10.99.
The fried chicken is tender and juicy on the inside, perfectly seasoned and crunchy on the outside, and fried to a perfect golden brown.
All the fixin's
Homemade side dishes include baked beans, cheese grits, mashed potatoes and gravy, fries, greens and a light and tangy coleslaw. All side dishes, except French fries ($2.99) are $1.99 for a small serving and $4.99 for a large serving.
It is clear the Meaderses pay as much attention to the small plates and appetizers as they do to the main dishes.
As my friends and I waited on our entrees of fried chicken and chicken and waffles to be served, we ordered from the appetizers menu Mississippi Delta hot tamales $10.99 for a half dozen and $20.99 for a dozen and fried green tomatoes $7.99 with a side of comeback sauce.
The tamales were small enough to qualify as appetizers and were light and tasty sans the heavy spicy sauce that drowns many versions. But the fried green tomatoes were the star of the appetizer show.
First, I hate to call the green tomatoes "fried," since it may conjure a picture of the thick, heavily battered, greasy versions served in some establishments. These were sliced thin, then rolled in a barely perceptible crunchy batter before being lightly sautéed to a crispy goodness. The comeback sauce was light and flavorful without overpowering the tomatoes' tartness.
Other appetizers include fried pickles ($6.99) and the Meaderses' original creation of smoked pork belly over biscuits with his original maple gravy ($9.99).
The Grumpy Chicken serves daily plate lunch specials, including pork chops, roast, hamburger steak and fried catfish ($9.99 with two sides and $10.99 with three sides).
Also on the menu are burgers ($9.99), po-boys($9.99), salads (ranging from $5.99 for a house salad to $10.99 for chicken or shrimp salads) and chicken sandwiches ($8.99).
The light, tasty offerings served up at The Grumpy Chicken are sure to leave you with anything but a grumpy attitude.