Olivia Dish

Honey-Fried Dreams?

In Restaurant, South Carolina on September 8, 2009 at 1:18 am
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Honey-Fried in Hartsville, SC

When I was a girl, a Yogi Bear’s Honey-Fried Chicken opened in the town nearest our farm.  Every time we drove by, I’d tell my mother how much I wanted to go there.  How, I reasoned, could honey plus fried chicken be anything but heavenly?

My mother, never careless with a penny, wasn’t buying–the hype or, it turns out, the chicken.  The place opened and closed.  I never got to try what I was sure would be the fried chicken that dreams are made of.

A month or so ago, for no reason that I can recall, I googled honey-fried chicken.  And what did I find?  That what appears to be the nation’s sole remaining Yogi Bear franchise was within easy driving distance.  I vowed to go there, dream deferred no more.

As I drove into Hartsville, South Carolina, I feared I had somehow misread the directions.  That after all this time, the chance to have honey-fried chicken would slip from my not-quite-sticky-enough grasp.  But then, gasp, heart leap–the sign, the very sign I remembered–Yogi Bear with drumstick in hand.

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Boo Boo Snack at last!

I bounced in, good cheer pouring out of me, not unlike Winnie the Pooh in the presence of a honey pot.  A not-exactly-effervescent employee punched the keys of her cash register and glared at me.  I squeaked out a perky, “I’ll have a Boo Boo snack!”

I sat in a booth, elbows on the formica-clad table, waiting for my order to come up–drumstick, thigh, and one side.  I watched them pour fresh batches of golden chicken into the serving tray under the heat lamps.  It looked so very good.

Then it was my turn to find out at last.  The Boo Boo box was mine, all mine.  I opened it and tore into the drumstick.

Hmm.

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Two pieces plus a side of mac 'n' cheese

Not a crispy crunch, more of a chewy crunch on the crust.  The chicken beneath was salty but fine.  I was hungry.  I kept going.  Finished the drumstick, tried the thigh.  Again, not very crispy.  I was, I had to admit, not much liking my honey fried chicken. There was a disconcerting undertaste, something familiar yet something I was sure I had tried hard to forget.

I smacked my lips like Yukon Cornelius and tried to determine what that essence might be.  Ah yes.  The fatty, salty, sweety taste of..smack smack smack….fried bologna!  Gracious.

So, honey fried chicken–at least not this batch–didn’t live up to a lifetime of expectation.  Then, of course, few things do.  I wouldn’t recommend trekking there for a box, but if you’re in the neighborhood, oh  go ahead, see what you think.

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