Over the past five years as the economy has improved, Raleigh has been busting at the seams with growth. And as Raleigh has grown, development in the area has shifted to the east and south of the downtown core. And I recently ran into an interesting spot in the East Raleigh, Phat Chicken! While it may not look like much from the outside, I’ve often found wonderful hidden gems in these quieter neighborhoods. And true to form, Phat Chicken delivers some great eats for not so much dinero. Here’s how my first lunch visit went down!
Head on over to E. Martin Street and you’ll find a quiet little plaza with some local businesses. Phat Chicken sits on the right-hand side of this innocuous location. Inside, Phat Chicken is bare-bones and simple. Chalkboard menu to the left, open kitchen, order kiosk and a handful of four-tops scattered about. A TV in the dining room is playing 70’s and 80’s tunes to keep things light! And the menu at Phat Chicken is super simple: fried chicken, grilled chicken, burgers along with some quesadillas and burritos. A good selection of sides are also offered ranging from fries, onion rings, rice with beans, collard greens, potato salad and more! All meals come with a side and rolls, the menu feels mostly Southern with a bit of Latino. I go with some grilled chicken just because online reviews seem to speak highly of it here at Phat Chicken. A small refrigerated case of drinks serves up the beverages for your meal.
It takes a bit of time for my food, maybe 15 minutes but that means everything is cooked to order here at Phat Chicken. My 4-piece plate of grilled chicken (dark meat) comes out with a heaping pile of onion rings and a couple of pieces of grilled bread, yummy! My eyes light up when I see this dish because it all looks really good. Phat Chicken’s chicken is done Latin-American style and slathered with spices like Mami Noras/Alpaca. BUT the key difference is the chicken is also grilled, charring up the skin for some more flava! Wow, a wonderful bite and there’s a bit of spice at the end. The onion rings here are also awesome using a light and bubbly beer-tempura batter covering thick pieces of fresh vidalia (I think) onion! Served up with a bit of ketchup and spicy comeback sauce, I could make a meal out of these bad-boys, alone. If you haven’t guessed, portion sizes here at Phat Chicken are substantial!
And based upon online reviews, I can’t resist missing dessert at Phat Chicken and get the griddled pound cake. And it is GOOD! They do a cinnamon pound cake here, drizzled with caramel sauce and served up with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. The browned edges of the pound cake are awesome and totally worth the additional calories but probably best shared with a friend.
Service at Phat Chicken is pretty basic and friendly given the set-up. And I run into the owner who checks to see what I think and is enthusiastic about our customer experience. While I can’t say that Phat Chicken is a place I’d bring a date to, it really hits the spot in term of tasty food, done right. While the menu may be small, I was pretty impressed with what I tried and am excited to try more off of it! So thank you Phat Chicken for shining during my Friday lunch. I think I may be finding more reasons to drop into this hood for some of your delicious down-home eats…
717 E Martin St Unit 199
Raleigh, NC 27601