Though I am not preggers I have been craving fried chicken of late. My fried chicken dreams have not included any of the fast food chains. I wanted my yard bird cooked in a locally owned dining emporium. Of course I could have made the drive up to a dandy bird vendor in Dunedin, but just the other day I saw Southern Fried Chicken on the menu at an establishment just down Gulf Boulevard from our stately pleasure dome by the sea.
Friendly Tavern at 18121 Gulf Boulevard at Redington Shores features a honey breaded, crispy brown bird on their dinner menu that had my name written all over it. Figuratively speaking, I should add. After enjoying a couple of adult beverages at the tiki bar the other day, my bride, the Belle of Gulf Boulevard, and I decide to return for dinner at our earliest opportunity. That opportunity presented itself yesterday.
The Belle and I arrived a little past five in the afternoon. The outdoor tables, while inviting and available, were blessed with a rather cool Gulf breeze. We are year-round beach folk, not visitors from the frozen north down here on vacation, so when the temperature drops below 70 degrees we put on clothes and stay out of the wind.
We aren't snow birds, but at the tavern we are newbies so when we walked in we paused to see if someone would guide us to a table. No one did, but a gentleman sitting at the end of the bar hollered over, "Just sit wherever you want ... we're all friendly here." We did as we were directed and within moments our most delightful server appeared.
Teresa presented us with menus and took our drink orders. Within a few short moments my bride and I were washing away the road dust from our arduous five minute drive down from Indian Shores. At that early evening hour we had Teresa pretty much to ourselves which was a real pleasure. Besides being a true service professional, her sardonic wit provided us with mirth and merriment to accompany our Friendly repast.
Back on the topic of food, my bride chose the Friendly's Pork Ribs, a half rack of fall-off-the-bones pork ribs with a smooth and tangy barbecue sauce. The ribs were the all-you-can-eat special that night for $18.95, but my dainty dining partner didn't think she could do justice to the all you can eat special, so she chose the regular dinner plate and was muchly happy.
The ribs were perfectly prepared, the mashed taters were creamy and delicious, the bread roll was crusty on the outside with a warm soft center and the coleslaw was fresh with a mellow citrus bite.
Teresa brought a fantastic plate of fried-to-order chicken to the table. The kitchen cooked up a juicy plate of bird for my dining enjoyment ... a thigh, wing, leg and breast accompanied by a side of mixed veggies and extra crispy fries.
Biting into that chicken released the savory juices that trickled down my hand and arm. The breading was perfect; not too much breading and just the right amount of savory goodness. The veggies were cooked to a proper al dente ... not raw and not cooked to mush.
A dessert was not needed, but with Teresa's prodding it became a glorious finish to an outstanding dinner. This Nutty Brownie Sundae came with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and great big gobs of whipped cream.
Would I recommend the Friendly Tavern for dinner? Heavens to Murgatroid, a resounding, "Yes!" With the terrific food, more than a few drinks and super service, the price tag of $47.51 was the whipped cream on the sundae.