"Southern comfort food" - what does that remind you of?
Personally, I instantly think of macaroni and cheese, biscuits & gravy, green bean casserole, fried chicken and waffles, and all things Paula Deen...rather unhealthy, rich, indulgent foods.
Chick-a-Biddy, a family-oriented, casual dining restaurant in Atlantic Station, aims to satiate those cravings for good, old Southern comfort foods...but with a twist: they use "farm-fresh" chicken, which, according to them, means factory-farm-free conditions. Centered around the concept of "farm-fresh", the restaurant furthers its appeal to health-conscious demographics by offering gluten-free menu items, including gluten-free chicken tenders. Not only does this invite a lot of interest given that gluten-free fried chicken is uncommon in the South, the inclusivity of Chick-a-Biddy's menu also lends it a family-friendly image.
So it's the whole package, right? "Healthy" comfort food with options that can suit everyone's dietary preferences?
Having entered Chick-a-Biddy with high expectations, I was disappointed with both the dining environment and the subpar food that I was served. We first entered during a busy dinner rush, where tables were packed with kids and their families. The noise level wouldn't have bothered me at all, actually, if it weren't for the yelling between the employees. Now our server was wonderful, but there was clearly a lack of organization among the employees; the poor guy was running back and forth across the restaurant, catering to many more tables than manageable. The host, himself, was clearly irritated by his co-workers and did not hesitate to vocalize his disdain in front of us.
The packed, chaotic restaurant doesn't really appeal to the family-friendly dining experience, but of course, take my words with a grain of salt because we dined there on a Saturday night, between 6-7 pm, when the ice skating rink was still open (the business of Atlantic Station may definitely have escalated the business of Chick-a-Biddy).
Busy restaurants are usually worth visiting because the high volume of people indicate good business, and good business in the culinary world indicates good food. I ordered the piri-piri chicken with the sides of rice & beans and brussels sprouts, and realized too quickly that I did not make a good decision. The beans were undercooked, the chicken didn't make me see the appeal in eating meat again, and the brussels sprouts reminded me of why I didn't like brussels sprouts as a kid. Harsh? To a degree, because I didn't order their specialty of chicken & waffles, but this dish is still one of their more popular items. Something this popular necessitates the a degree of palatability, right?
So I definitely was not impressed, and I'll concede by acknowledging that I may have "ordered wrong". My friends were definitely pleased with their chicken tenders and waffle, so if you're going to come to Chick-a-Biddy, I would strongly recommend going down that route.
But from a bird's eye view of the entire experience, I wouldn't come back. The food was more expensive than warranted (granted, "farm fresh" chicken will be more expensive than their "factory-farm fresh" counterparts) and the dining experience wasn't all that appealing. There are plenty of other options at Atlantic Station and there are certainly more famous/worthwhile places to go to satiate your chicken and waffle cravings.
Original Cheddar Waffle with Chicken Tenders
Bourbon Pecan Waffle with Chicken Tenders