Back in late December, Jake and I (with S in tow) got around to checking out Chicken Charlie’s FryBQ, the new storefront restaurant from the guy who sells all of the crazy concoctions at the fair every summer (think Fried Kool-Aid, Fried Pickles, Fried Twinkies and Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwiches). In the fall last year he opened up shop and we were looking forward to seeing how a storefront would do in San Diego.
Honestly I don’t usually get stuff from Chicken Charlie’s at the San Diego Fair because it’s usually a lot of food and a little pricier. I like to try a few things and it feels like too much of a commitment to get a whole meal with all of those french fries at Chicken Charlie’s. I wish they just sold samplers!
Here at the restaurant they have the usual fair minded fried food offerings (like the fried BBQ, fried Oreos, fried frog legs, etc) along with regular non-fried BBQ, chicken sandwiches, fried or roasted chicken, and even their Maui Chicken (which is served in a pineapple shell). A few of their Fair desserts made it to the restaurant menu as well, such as the fried Oreos and fried Klondike ice cream bar.
[happy hour specials]
Some cool deals are their happy hour specials we spotted on the side of a napkin dispenser after we placed our order. I didn’t see this menu listed on the Chicken Charlie’s FryBQ restaurant so hopefully it’s still around – I’d kind of want to come for the $5 desserts more than anything else! Dessert first is a legit thing, right?
[frybq ribs / $10.95]
We stuck with just sampling two entrees for the three of us to share that evening. Jake and I had never tried the FryBQ ribs and figured this should be apart of our first sampling.
The ribs are indeed fried first and then coated in BBQ sauce. They’re baby back pork ribs with a fair amount of meat on the bones. The fried coating gives the ribs a bit of crunch that you normally never see on a rib and then they’re covered in a tangy BBQ sauce. I didn’t really dig the sauce – it was much too tangy for my liking. Maybe if I had ordered them dry I would have liked them better. It was hard to get past the sauce in this case since they’re completely covered but I thought the fried ribs on their on own were okay. I didn’t get the full benefits of the frying since the sauce masked some of the crispy texture with the drench of sauce on top.
I think I’d still rather have smoked ribs or grilled ribs though. I don’t think ribs necessarily need to be crunchy…
[chicken and waffles / $10.95]
We also got an order of Chicken and Waffles. We got the 4 piece chicken to split between the three of us and cut the waffles into quarters as well.
The waffle was on the softer side. I thought the powdered sugar was a little overkill since you got a little container of overly sweet maple syrup along with it. It tasted fine, nothing really outstanding about it though.
With the chicken we got a mix of white and dark meat – we got one wing, one leg, one thigh and one breast. Good on the variety at least! The chicken itself was run of the mill – nothing really special or spectacular in my opinion. It had a fair amount of seasoning, was a bit crispy and not overly greasy… but nothing really “wow” or awesome about it. It’s a few notches up from KFC but nothing that I’d really crave to have again.
I had higher hopes for Chicken Charlie’s but everything just felt like “meh” to us. The restaurant wasn’t very busy on our visit, the people working there seemed kind of bored, it just felt like a really average, no frills experience to us. I think the only thing that would make me want to return would be to try and fried things I haven’t before (like the fried avocados) or some of the other desserts. But as it is I’m not really hankering for a return visit.
Chicken Charlie’s FryBQ
5407 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111