Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Porter's Fried Chicken

If you could have any super power what would you choose?

Invisibility is perfect for watching girls get undressed. But when you choose invisibility you've declared yourself a creep. Flying would be amazing. But it draws a lot of attention, and flying in St. Louis in the winter requires so many layers that sometimes it's just simpler to drive. Invincibility is boring. Time travel is an especially wriggly can of worms. It makes never being born dangerously easy.

I've known my ideal super power for a long time. It came to me one day in High School.

My super power: Every meal I ever ate would be the most delicious thing I've ever eaten, just slightly more delicious than the last thing I ate.

Simple and practical. I love to eat.

The fried chicken at Porter's is not the best thing I've ever eaten. It's just the best fried chicken. Infallible. Porter's made me understand why there are places like KFC and Lee's Famous Recipe.*

The Best Fried Chicken

On paper Lee's Famous Recipe should be my favorite restaurant. But in the real world, tip-toeing the Shrewsbury-Maplewood border, there is a fried chicken joint called Porter's. It's in the perfect nobody of a strip mall, right between the laundromat and the pool hall. The name of the strip mall is painted on a rock out front.

Porter's Fried Chicken


Pool Hall

I get the two piece or three piece special depending on hunger. Special means all breasts. Slightly more expensive.

The first time you come in the girl at the counter will explain that all the meals and snacks come with mashed potatoes, slaw and a biscuit. But if you want, for an extra 40 cents, you can get fries. The second time you come she'll ask, "Mash and slaw?" The third time she won't need to ask. The fourth time explain it to someone else.

Catfish Dinner with Tartar Sauce

What makes the perfect chicken place? Porter's does it with a skyline of of white cardboard boxes waiting to be greased-thru by hot salty chicken. And a Lions Club of Webster used eyeglass collection box. And a bowling league trophy. And the occasional fried feather. And greasy floors and Thrifty Nickle classifieds. Phone in orders encouraged.

My buddy John's family has Porter's every time one of his 6 siblings has a birthday. Maybe the parents birthdays too. Fourth of July. Sunday nights. Family reunions.

John was the one that brought me to Porter's. And he was with me the day a representative of the St. Louis Tall Club tried to recruit us. He was also there when three of use fought vicious hangovers to get our Motorcycle Permits at the DMV branch across the street. After a restorative fried chicken lunch, resplendent with perfectly mixed Cherry Pepsi in a 24oz Styrofoam cup, we got our permits. We saw Shady Jack in line at the DMV, he got his motorcycle permit at 15 and a half. I got mine at 28.

Lets get down to brass tacks.

The reason Porter's is so amazing is that it made me realize that I don't need a super power to love fried chicken. I just needed proof of its existence before I could accept that there is such a thing as good fried chicken. Now, I can even kind of enjoy bad fried chicken. It's a powerful feeling.

* As a matter of fact, the next business down Big Bend past Porter's and the pool hall is a KFC. There is only Shrewsbury ave, a creek/drainage ditch and a thin parking lot in between. Mr. and Mrs. Porter are not sweating it.


Jeff P said...

Bad fried chicken?
Never heard of it.

Maureen Grady said...

wow. i'm a vegetarian, but this story almost makes me want to eat at porter's next time i'm in STL...weird.

Pancake Master said...

Porter's is indeed great; we were shooting a movie up the street with some out-of-town friends and trekked there for lunch on one particularly memorable occasion. "Shoot-A-Rack" was a cooler name for a pool hall than "The Cue" is (I also hear they took out all the foosball tables since the name change, but I haven't been in since then, so I don't know for sure...they used to have a killer customer appreciation night once a month or so, though).

Pancake Master said...

Oh yeah! And, my grandparents were in the Tip-Toppers club of San Francisco back in the 1950s. It's where my Grandmother met her second husband (now deceased as well) and current boyfriend of sorts. Did you guys join up on the Saint Louis chapter? I think it sounds pretty hilarious.

DoeHands said...

Fried Thighs are my jam.

sparky said...

Porter's is hands down the best fried chicken in St. Louis. Hodaks you say? Not even close! Pat's Bar in Dogtown wishes their chicken was as good as Porter's. Simply the best I have ever eaten. Period.