Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Good Food, Mediocre Service

Last year, Krispy Krunchy Chicken, a Louisiana-based franchise, opened in Memphis at a location previously occupied by Hari's Restaurant and Renee's Sandwich Shop. Because those restaurants failed, many believe the location of 51 S. Main St. was cursed as far as restaurants were concerned. With regards to this particular address, I disagree. Renee's didn't succeed because its food was lackluster. Hari's, as an Indian restaurant, served decent food. However, when compared to places like India Palace, Hari's didn't measure up in terms of quality and service that most Memphians expect. With Krispy Krunchy, many believe it will have a better chance of success because it has the capital to sustain meager initial revenue. However, a crappy product or service will always meet its demise eventually (the WNBA notwithstanding). From what I've experienced, Krispy Krunchy may have a good future if it works out the kinks in its operations.
The fried chicken has a taste similar to Church's, but without the negative attributes. Unlike the steroid injected (allegedly), overly breaded huge pieces that Church's offer, Krispy Krunchy takes a leaner approach. The chicken pieces are smaller with a light coat of breading that is less salty. In terms of taste, it is spicy yet not overly hot like Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. While Krispy Krunchy isn't as good as Gus's, it holds its own with most fast food joints without a long wait time.
On the advice of friends, I got a side of jambalaya with my fried chicken. I've heard that it was good, but my initial impression indicated otherwise. When I got my chicken and jambalaya, it was a to-go order. After I got home (a twenty-minute trip), I warmed everything up in a microwave oven on the "HI" temperature for ninety seconds. Once the food was heated, I attempted to eat the jambalaya with the chicken, but something was amiss. While the fried chicken was fine, the jambalaya was gooey and dry. Although I'm not an expert, I have eaten enough jambalaya to know that it wasn't right. Apparently, I must have overheated it. So instead of saying something negative about it, I decided to give Krispy Krunchy's jambalaya a second chance. In doing so, I ate it at the restaurant.
Initially, I intended to eat the jambalaya solo and sought out to do just that. I went there a few weeks ago during the evening, at about 9:00 PM. When I attempted to order the jambalaya, the man working the counter said that they were out of it and don't usually have it in the evenings. That disappointed me, for I really had my heart set on having it. Eventually, on a random Monday night after leaving the Flying Saucer, I got it as a side item of an entree.
In addition to selling fried chicken, Krispy Krunchy also offers a selection of grilled fish items. I decided to go with catfish, given that the restaurant has an abundance of it that is often sold in fried form. When I placed my order, the restaurant workers had a collective befuddled look on their faces. One of them said that they had never gotten that order before, which surprised me. While they stood dumbfounded, the manager came to the rescue and personally handled my order. Several minutes later, the grilled catfish arrived along with sides of macaroni & cheese, jambalaya and a roll. The catfish was slightly charred and seasoned with black pepper, which resulted in a decent taste. Although I expected the catfish have more Cajun flavor given the restaurant's Louisiana roots, I was cool with what I had. By comparison, the grilled catfish I had at Blues City Cafe had a lot of Cajun spices, although getting it that way isn't easy (please read my review for details).
The side items that I had were decent overall. The jambalaya wasn't quite as gooey as the last time but it was still dry. However, it had a good amount of chicken and sausage in it and it was moderately spicy. Like the catfish, the jambalaya lacked Cajun flavor but it complemented the catfish well. The mac n' cheese was okay, typical of what can be had at many restaurants. The roll was honey glazed and fluffy, and it was really good. The sides, along with the catfish made for a nice meal that I'll likely order again.
After making a few visits to Krispy Krunchy Chicken, I've surmised that it is a convenient place to go for a quick bite on the cheap. Although the chicken isn't on par with Gus's, the place can hold it's own with many Downtown Memphis restaurants that offer similar priced items. One word of caution: if you intend to dine there in the evening, don't expect everything on the menu to be offered. As I said earlier, I couldn't get the jambalaya and if the manager wasn't there to cook my grilled catfish, I probably wouldn't have gotten that either. The place is geared to sell mostly fried chicken, but my advice to management is to be able to offer the entire menu regardless of the time of day. It doesn't take much for rumors about bad customer service to deter people from dining at a restaurant. While waiting on my order, I read something that was displayed on my table and written by Christine Shelton, owner of the recently closed Christine by Shelton Clothiers. To summarize what she wrote, she said that if you like Downtown, show it by your patronage. Of course, that goes both ways, and that's something Krispy Krunchy Chicken should keep in mind.

UPDATE: Since this review, this franchise has closed, but another one opened at 954 Main St. in Southaven, Mississippi (a Memphis suburb). Midtowners can get their "Krunchy" fix at Snappy Mart, located on the corner of Madison Ave. and Cleveland St. By the way, both places also sell Hunt Brothers Pizza.

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