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DODARO: The Original Picken Chicken proves to be convenient choice for Rutgers students

Column: Sip it Up

The Original Picken Chicken provides tasty chicken dishes at cheap prices and late hours, though some of its offerings fall flat. – Photo by Shardar Tarikul Islam / Unsplash

The Original Picken Chicken is a restaurant I have been wanting to visit, not only because of its proximity to the Cook and Douglass campuses but also due to a craving for chicken. It really was the perfect storm.

The establishment is approximately a 10-minute drive from the College Avenue campus and less than a five-minute drive from the Cook and Douglass campuses. After walking into the restaurant, I noticed a few places to sit and an unremarkable setup behind the counter.

The menu really did have it all, which was a bit overwhelming in my opinion. Still, there really is something for everyone. The menu options included pizza, breakfast, soup and chili, salads, buffalo wings, chicken fingers, ribs, club and hot sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, burgers and the list goes on. Of course, there was chicken, but it was quite far down on the menu.

Since the options were so extensive, I ended up ordering much more than I needed to try as many menu items as I could. I ordered the buffalo chicken pizza, the two-piece chicken box snack, the barbecue chicken sandwich, the homemade chili, mini corn dogs, Roman fries and a bean pie.

The order took less than 30 minutes to prepare, and I quickly left and headed to my apartment to feast. Once I was home, I opened the pizza box and noticed that the restaurant had given me the wrong order — there was barbecue sauce and chicken on top. It was still yummy, but there were not nearly enough toppings on it.

Next, I tried the chicken, and it was everything I could have asked for in fried chicken. Every bite had crispy skin, a divine crunch and tender, juicy chicken. I do wish there was some sort of seasoning on top, but honestly, the chicken on its own could have been a meal.

Next was the homemade chili, and I was not impressed. It was watery and lacked adequate seasoning. It did have a nice, subtle heat to it, but the clump of cheese on top was unappealing. After a few spoonfuls, I could not eat any more of it.

After the chili, I started on the barbecue chicken sandwich. This had to be my favorite, even though it did not taste like barbecue whatsoever. The sandwich was packed with tender chicken, which was covered in a decent amount of cajun-flavored sauce.

I then tried the mini corn dogs and found them greasy with an overpowering sweetness in contrast to the hotdog underneath. It tasted like a gross version of a funnel cake. The fries were not much better than the corndogs as the cheese was clumped on top and tasted way too much like garlic.

Finally, I ended with the bean pie, and it was an interesting dessert to try. The purée part had an appetizing chai flavor, but the crust was not to my taste and was hard to eat, which ruined it for me as my teeth hurt after only a few bites.

The Original Picken Chicken's hours and pricing are definitely great features. Hours-wise, it is open on Mondays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays. As for pricing, some sides and meals start as low as $2.99. My entire order totaled a little more than $40.00, which is not much considering the amount of food I ordered.

In terms of getting there, I would say that driving is the best option, though this makes it slightly inconvenient to park. But the drive is short, and online ordering is an option. Ordering online is also convenient since you can decide between pickup or delivery, the latter of which is perfect for late-night snacking.

If you are looking for quality food, I would recommend trying a different restaurant, but for the price and its late hours, The Original Picken Chicken is a good go-to restaurant. Some dishes were delicious, but most of them were mediocre, so it is a hit or miss depending on what you are ordering.

Francesca Dodaro is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in English. Her column, "Sip it Up," runs on alternate Wednesdays.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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