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“Fried 'Red Over-Ripe' Green Tomatoes, Cold Turnip Greens, Batter-Fried 'Steamed' Cod?!”

Chicken Pantry Restaurant
Ranked #7 of 31 Restaurants in Bunnell
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $7 - $14
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast
Description: The Chicken Pantry was founded in 1956 on the idea of simple and delicious Southern food. We are continuing that tradition of delicious southern meals and delicious fried chicken today!
Palm Coast, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Fried 'Red Over-Ripe' Green Tomatoes, Cold Turnip Greens, Batter-Fried 'Steamed' Cod?!”
Reviewed May 17, 2014

This is not the first time I've been disappointed visiting this restaurant, but I just love their fried chicken!!! Yes, their fried chicken and chicken livers are great but somehow, since they've relocated and expanded their space a while back and then added a few more items on their menu ... I feel that their ambition to be known for more may be tarnishing their image more so than helping it. What's wrong with being successful just selling buckets of their signature chicken or chicken livers?!

To add to their problem is the ownership, especially the lady owner who can't seem to handle negative comments passed on by your server when asked how you enjoyed your meal?! You may have to just literally swallow your pride along with your food if you've sampled more than a "magic portion" of one of their specials and didn't like it. The lady owner has had no problems approaching my table in the past to argue with me and my guests about our taste, arming herself with alleged compliments from an anonymous number of satisfied customers who would disagree with us then prematurely refuses to reimburse us, even if the thought of asking hadn't occurred to us.

Shame that such passion and pride for her establishment isn't based on listening to her customers' complaints in a positive manner to help improve the quality of their offerings and promote the health and goodwill of her business within the community she serves.

That having been said, it had been over six months since I dared to re-visit this restaurant. This time I was with my sister-in-law and her closest friend from Orlando who had never been at the restaurant's new location, all with the intention of ordering their "signature" fried chicken. I happened to glance at the specials chalk board on the way in and noticed that they had a batter-fried cod platter listed. Being a seafood lover, now more so as I've advanced in years, I sealed my own fate by deciding to order that instead. Both of my company stuck to their desire for fried chicken. Our visitor from Orlando ordered turnip greens as one of her sides. Knowing and accepting the fact that it usually takes a while for our meals to be ready, I took the initiative to order one of our favorite appetizers, their fried green tomatoes.

The fried green tomatoes promptly arrived at our table but to our disbelief were in no way, green tomatoes!!! They were red and over-ripe but seemed mildly soured somehow. We wondered if anyone with any cooking integrity could mistake the color green from red and ripe from unripe green tomatoes? Everyone at the table was aware of my previous experience with the lady owner. We all dropped our utensils within a fraction of a second of sampling a bite. The rest of the dish remained untouched. It would have been laughable if it hadn't been so bad.

When our server came to top off our drinks, check on us and tell us that our main entrees would be coming shortly, she asked how the fried green tomatoes were. With great reluctance we all admitted our disbelief and dissatisfaction with the appetizer. After apologizing, she then left for a short time, leaving everything on our table. Minutes later, she returned with our orders. Our friend from Orlando noticed that her turnip greens were cold but feared wanting to complain about it. I took the bold step to let our server know about it. At the very least, I felt they could just "nuke it" in a microwave. The server took it back and returned within minutes with the same side piping hot. The rest of their fried chicken meals were as expected ... delicious ... no complaints there. I wish I could say the same about their batter-fried cod special. Priced moderately high for the portion size, especially for lunch, I expected the flavor and quality to at least rival that of the signature batter-fried fish filets being served at another eatery about a block away from the restaurant. I was wrong. I received a single cod filet which resembled more of a steak cut that a filet cut. It was roughly four inches long, two and a half inches wide and almost as tall, coated in fried batter. I have no problem with bland as a little salt and pepper can easily solve that. Problem is the size of the "filet" created a steamed environment during the cooking process and therefore the batter coating ended up tasting more like an under-cooked crepe wrap. There was no crispness in the batter at all and where the batter touched the filet was a gooey residue which looked and tasted like paste. In order for me to at least salvage a meal from my dish, I scraped and separated the coating, eating only the plain steamed cod which I seasoned with salt and pepper along with my two sides, fried eggplant and coleslaw which by the way I have no complaints with. After our meal I chose not to chance another sad confrontation with the lady owner, I just decided to swallow my pride and say nothing about another one of her "specials."

Perhaps due to the intercession of our server or the fact that we had left more than ample evidence to prove our point about our dissatisfaction with their fried red over-ripe supposedly green tomatoes that we were served, we were not charged for the appetizer, but not without questioning our bill and asking for it to be removed before paying and leaving.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank PC U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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148 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    60
    39
    21
    15
    13
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Palm Coast, Florida
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Prices Change at Whim”
Reviewed May 14, 2014

If you order a dinner with sides, you're fine. However, if you order for example gizzards or wings with no sides, the price changes from visit to visit. I personally don't care for their sides in any capacity, so why would I purchase? Also, the owner Maureen was a bit tudey when I told her the price was significantly cheaper in February. I think Chicken Pantry has gotten too big for their britches. Don't they know they can be replaced, thus no customers for them.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stephanie4093
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bunnell, Florida
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“bad service worse food”
Reviewed May 12, 2014

We went Mothers Day. We went early to avoid rush. First one girl took our drink order then never saw her at our table again. Then another girl came took our order and brought us drinks .The we waited 45 minutes to order food . The they brought wrong order andinsisted that we orderd that. The they brought out real fast uncooked food they would not take home to our dogs . This placeis bad, has gone way down hill since they moved , and the fat lady drinking ice coffee and picking her ears helped only with mixing it all up and screwing up orders. Never again .25 bucks and a 711 breakfast burrito has more flavor !

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Tmbigs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Very good fried chicken”
Reviewed May 6, 2014 via mobile

We have eaten here several times and I always get the fried chicken. I love it! Others in our party have ordered other things and they are normally very happy with their food, too. The service is good and friendly, and I believe the value is very good. I recommend this home style restaurant in Bunnell.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bfisher003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ormond Beach, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Flocking to the Pantry”
Reviewed April 26, 2014

Chikinanddumplins, all in one word, is how to order a little bit of heaven for dinner at the Pantry. Comfort vittles and plenty of them is the order of the day at this famous ( in Bunnell ) restaurant. Our server, Jeannine, took us through the large menu of southern tried items that is typical of the old south. Green beans in bacon sauce, cabbage steamed, also in bacon renderings. Pork fried, ham roasted, and the main reason for the name, CHICKEN !! By the piece, or by the whole, the best fried chicken ever, said the spouse. All the specialities offered as sides, reminds what it once was in Central Florida. Try this independent chicken pantry, and you will want to make a fast return. The corn bread alone, is worth the trip and " the best ever chicken " is the top of the line.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank James C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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