What: Fast food restaurant
Where: 251 N. Chicago St., Joliet, IL (815) 727-1100
When: Seven days a week, 7:30am-10pm
Chicken-N-Spice may be my new favorite thing. It’s true, this opinion may be influenced by the fact that I was locked inside all weekend finishing a research paper and eating Ramen noodles. I’d call it “crave-worthy” under any circumstances, though. As I sorted through my end of semester bits and bobs, the pictures Charles took of our Chicken-N-Spice meal had me drooling. It was like the culinary equivalent of lying in the gutter and looking at the stars.
As I said, we made a day of it when we stopped in Joliet (well, night of it, in accordance with the pinball joint’s hours). I’m really not familiar with Joliet beyond the now-closed (and possibly haunted?) prison that was in The Blues Brothers. Chicago Street Pinball (which I’m sure you read all about here and shared with all your friends) was the main goal of our trip, so we built our itinerary around that. I found a chicken place that got good reviews on Yelp, and going by the street names and numbers, it wasn’t too far away.
Chicken-N-Spice has been around since 1979, and the décor looks it (but I actually like a family rec room/dive bar ambience). Their claim to fame is their breast chunks. Having formerly worked in a hospital, the name strikes me as…a bit off-putting and clinical? It is an accurate descriptor, however, as they’re all white meat, and, as their website says, “never frozen, cut and seasoned right here in the restaurant daily!”
We weren’t sure how many to order as we tried to wrap our heads around what size they were, as the employees held their fingers out in approximate circumferences. The breast chunks were pretty big, maybe about the size of a tennis ball? I think we ordered six and took two home for later. You can see why they tout them, as they were absolutely delicious (I mean, they stirred my ardor so they had me quoting Oscar Wilde). Since they were so huge they were a bit tricky to eat, though. As it’s definitely not a bite-sized thing, and served piping hot, you’ll want to pause and set it down on a napkin or something as you grab some more hot sauce.
On the side we had “jo-jos” (their version of fries, sort of a seasoned potato wedge type thing) as well as spicy rice and big, fluffy biscuits. Other sides include creamy pepperjack macaroni and cheese bites(!). They have a soup of the day and an extensive, affordable breakfast menu as well (a $1.79 sausage and egg biscuit? That might even be cheaper than McDonald’s. This place was a great deal). They also have their version of chicken and waffles, with little breast chunks dotting the edges like teddy bear ears; can be ordered with or without strawberries.
I know I harshed on Rockford’s Beef-A-Roo, as (to me at least) their roast beef sandwich was a pale imitation of Chicago’s. Chicken-N-Spice felt like Harold’s Chicken Shack with a breakfast menu. What more could you want?