Over the past few months I had started to receive numerous emails from readers that I needed to do a feature story about what they called “The Chicken Capital of United States”. As the emails noted, I would not find any better fried chicken anywhere than right there.
So armed with my notepad, camera and some hard cash I headed south to Summit County, Ohio to investigate this chicken. I selected three chicken places to check out from the list of emails I had received.
First stop DeVore’s Hopocan Gardens, Barberton, OH. Now as far as ambiance, I have to say the three places I visited would not score high for décor. Of course you really aren’t looking for a five star restaurant that serves fried chicken either.
Seated at my table, I asked the waitress what the popular dish was and she noted I needed to try the their fried chicken dinner. So I selected the 4 piece dark. (For those interested they do offer other items like chicken paprikash, fish, ham steak, soups, sandwiches and more.)
My four piece dinner came with two (2) thighs, one (1) drumette and one (1) back. I was also able to select three sides, my choices where french fries, hot sauce and coleslaw. Also included with my dinner was a choice of bread.
There is something to be said about a plate of fried chicken mounded with fresh cut french fries on top and where the hot sauce starts to mix with all the other juices on the plate. Definitely a very unique flavor combination. The fried chicken is fried in their secret breading recipe and the way it is fried it does keep the juice in the chicken just like my readers informed me. I think I overheard the word lard. If so that is how Grandma used to make it years ago can’t go wrong.
The coleslaw was a vinegar base, the fries were addicting and the hot sauce had a bit of a kick and actually was very good. My dinner cost me about $6, because I being the savy shopper went to their website and printed a coupon first. Normally this dinner would be about $8.95.
To find out additional information about DeVore’s Hopocan Gardens please check out their website: http://www.hopocangardens.com.
My next stop was Whitehouse Chicken in Barberton Ohio. Here I ordered take-out of the same dinner I previously had so I could be fair in judging taste. I learned that they have been making chicken since 1950 and they use only fresh Ohio-raised chickens in all their recipes. When I sampled their chicken it seemed very similar to the chicken that I had just had at DeVore’s. Their hot sauce had a slightly hotter taste, but other than that they were very similar dinners. They also offer other items on their menu to order.
For additional information about Whitehouse Chicken, please check out their website: http://www.whitehousechicken.com
And last, I stopped at Milich’s Village Inn. This restaurant had probably the best so called ambiance of the three, which I think I contributed to more windows to the outdoors giving it a more airy look. I however was not as impressed with their chicken. Again, ordering the same chicken dinner, I found their chicken pieces to be smaller in size compared to the other two places. The hot sauce was a little runnier, but had the same flavor as the others. The flavor of the chicken was about the same and as far as the coleslaw and fries very similar.
I searched for a website for Milich’s Village Inn and was unable to locate one. They are located at 4444 South Cleveland Massillon Rd., Norton (on Barberton line) and their phone number is 330-825-4553.
I guess I will have to agree with my readers that yes, Barberton is the “Chicken Capital of the World”. And yes, I now know why so many people pilgrimage to Barberton for their chicken.
I also know, what you are going to ask next. How could I have eaten that much chicken in one day? Well, I didn’t eat it all. I shared with a few lucky friends to ask for their opinions and little did I know one of them happened to already be a Barberton chicken fanatic. So of the four I shared the chicken with, I received four thumbs up for the chicken, three thumbs up for the hot sauce and four thumbs up for the fries. No one ate any of the bread.
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