Krispy Krunchy Chicken is a Mixed Bag

For this week's review, our critic looks at the latest in gas station fare. The new fast food spot already plans on expanding.

Opening in November as part of a small wave of new spots coming to Skokie’s , Krispy Krunchy Chicken brings the Louisiana-based chain to the North Shore. While some of its fare is quite good, there’s not much to elevate it beyond other popular fried chicken restaurants.

Located at 5128 Dempster St., the carryout only storefront shares a parking lot with a Shell Station and could be missed from the road if not for a banner waving out front. The franchise is owned by Skokie resident Salim Kadri, and he seemed to be getting help from his two older daughters while his son played in the back when we were there Saturday afternoon. When we asked for recommendations, he just pointed to the menu, but when pressed he said he liked the chicken bites. We were the only people there at the time and got our food instantly since it was all coming from underneath the heat lamps. Kadri is planning on installing seats at a space next door, but since there’s nowhere to eat for now we drove home to eat.

For entrees we went with the four-piece white meat meal ($6.49) and the four-piece Cajun tenders ($4.79). The white meat meal actually included five large pieces of fried chicken, while the tenders were sizeable strips of white meat without the bones to deal with. While both are meant to be Cajun spiced, they had only the faintest bit of heat and the dipping sauce they’re served with added minimal flavor, just tasting like a creamy sauce with some pepper. We were also disappointed that the breading wasn’t very crispy. Overall, the chicken was better than what you’d get at Kentucky Fried Chicken, but worse than Popeye’s.

Both dishes came with a honey butter biscuit, and they were the best part of the meal. They’re perfectly cooked, with a crispy and sweet top giving way to a light and flaky interior – far better than any other fast food biscuits I’ve tried.

The chicken bites (.89 cents each) turned out to be excellent. The tiny fried balls are filled with a mix of spiced chicken and rice, more reminiscent of Indian fare than the rest of the Cajun-styled food on the menu.

The Cajun fries ($1.59-$2.99) were a more mixed experience. Most of them were quite good, with flavorful seasoning covering the crispy outside and fluffy interior. Unfortunately, a few were hard and dried out, likely from sitting under the heat lamps for too long.

The closest other fried chicken fast food spots are located in Chicago and Morton Grove, so Krispy Krunchy Chicken is benefiting from a lack of competition. It serves decent fare as far as fast food goes, but it’s not really worth going out of your way for unless you’re a really big fan of biscuits.

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