It must be all about the nostalgia.
My husband and I have such different views on this restaurant. He's been here quite a few times over the years with family; last Saturday (6/29) was my second time (the first was with him and his family about four years ago). He absolutely loves it, and talked about it off and on the week leading up to our trip. I could take it or leave it, however wouldn't go out of my way to eat here. He made it a point to incorporate this into our day at Knott’s Berry Farm, I kept kind of hoping he’d forget about it so I could try Pink's. He basks in the glory of freshly-made, piping-hot biscuits slathered in butter and boysenberry jam (ok yeah, at this point I have to admit I do the same).
On a Saturday night at about 7:15, we waited less than five minutes to be seated. The room to the left of the lobby has the same carpeting I remembered from my previous visit, probably the same carpet Cordelia herself walked on. The rest of the restaurant has wooden floors or tile, it seems as if they added on to the restaurant as they needed to. All of the plants are fake, and I felt a strong urge to dust and re-arrange the branches of the palm-type thing shoved in the corner next to my table. The wait staff are dressed like they probably dressed originally, they all kind of look like ma and pa Ingalls…it’s actually pretty cute.
We split the chicken dinner, and ordered a kid's meal for our little one; our waiter was fine with this and said he'd bring an extra plate with the meal. My husband ate half the salad (with honey-mustard dressing, his favorite), I ate half the soup (after adding salt), then we swapped. Meanwhile our little one colored his snoopy-themed menu and ate his strawberry jell-o. After half a bowl of soup, half a plate of salad and about five or six biscuits, I was getting full; then the chicken and mashed potatoes came. My husband made what I call his "happy noises" while eating, rolling his eyes in pure delight as he stuffed himself with chicken, potatoes, and corn. I ate a few forkfuls of mashed potatoes, took the skin off my (chicken) thigh, and remembered that I'd wanted to try the cabbage with ham instead of corn. Oh well.
I love chicken thighs; it is one of my favorite foods and this one did not disappoint. Sure, it didn't cause me to hear any angels sing, but it was a perfectly good, juicy fried chicken thigh. I had no complaints. On my little one's plate were three really big fried chicken strips (I had a bite - it was pretty good - super crunchy and appeared to be breast meat or tenderloin filets. It also reminded me of Denny’s), mashed potatoes w/ gravy, and corn. He had a side of ranch, so was good to go :). His meal, including jello-o and milk, was $8.95.
We were so full by the time dessert came, we opted for a slice of Boysenberry pie but could only manage to paw at a few bites. It was good though, I thought the crust was really yummy. Had we asked, I’m sure the waiter would have heated it up and tossed a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it, at that point we were ready to crawl out of there and were fine with a lonely, room-temp slice of pie on a plate.
Like I previously mentioned, I don’t clamor to come here like he does, however I think it’s because he has strong memories of coming here through the years with his family, and those memories are triggered by the sights, smells and taste of this place. I don’t have any of that, so have to base my opinion on the food itself, which I think is just OK. Then again, I have a strong affinity for The Old Spaghetti Factory (we live in San Diego), having eaten there over the years, while he would happily not set foot in there if it weren’t for me. Ah, the things we married folk do for each other…
If you’ve never been here before and plan to come, I highly recommend ordering the Fried Chicken Dinner (everything’s $16.95, you may as well go for what they’re known for) and split it with someone unless you have the appetite of a Clydesdale or haven’t eaten in days. It really is a LOT of food. Oh, and get that pie heated!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.