Alex: We had a veritable feast of comfort food this last week at Beach Road Chicken Dinners. Normally I avoid chicken in restaurants in favor of more esoteric meals, and on top of that, most of my experiences with fried chicken growing up were most certainly of the fast variety. At Beach Road, the service is fast, but you’ll be feeling pretty slow after eating a table full of sides and chicken.
You can tell it’s a local establishment by how full the parking lot gets. While the building itself is rather unassuming, once you get inside it has a very homey feel to it. Checkered tablecloths abound, and the menus are placed underneath the clear covering to eliminate the jostling and clutter and give you something to read between plates of sides.
It’s not a place for the faint of heart; almost every item is deliciously deep fried. Heather ordered the all-dark meat chicken dinner, with two legs and two thighs. The waitress advised that we pick a starch: mashed potatoes, French fries, or rice. She opted for the mashed potatoes and gravy, and each dinner came with biscuits, slaw, and cream peas. I went with the standard chicken dinner, which was a half of a chicken fried up. I was going to order a side of mashed potatoes for myself, only to get a laugh from the waitress “Naw honey, it’s served family style, so you’ll have plenty of that already”. If anyone would know better, it would be the waitress, so I went with fries.
They brought out the coleslaw to get us ready for what was to come. I was pretty hungry and gobbled it quickly, but it was tasty. Heather didn’t care for it as much, saying it was a bit thinner than most slaws she’s had. It was just enough to tide us over until the main course started arriving though. One after another, plates started hitting the table. Once the table was covered in food that was fried, mashed, or buttered, it was time to dig in.
As expected, the chicken was delicious and tender. The crunchy skin was well seasoned and just as tasty as it looked. I poured a little bit of honey and gravy on mine, to add a bit of sweetness to the savory and smooth out the texture a bit. It was pure comfort food and everything we were in the mood for. Not to be left out, the biscuits were flaky, buttery, and sweet, and tasted great covered in their gravy.
The only side dish we ended up completely finishing was their mashed potatoes, smooth in texture and a bit buttery, without excessive amounts of garlic or seasoning. They were mashed potatoes in the purest sense, like your grandma makes. On the other hand, neither of us are big fans of creamed pea, so those sat mostly untouched. I guess I never did learn to like all the things my grandma used to make! The same went for their fried okra, which we ordered because we’ve had it seared in a pan and really enjoyed it. Deep fried, the slick texture combined with the fry batter left something to be desired.
It’s a great place to grab lunch or dinner, or to even get take out. There’s only one thing I’d keep in mind, once you’re done you’re only allowed to take non-refillable side items home. So when you look across the table; take a double helping of their mashed potatoes and ladle some gravy onto some biscuits before you dive into the fried chicken. Next time you’re driving down Beach road, take the time to sit down and enjoy a massive table of comfort food, and then get ready for the inevitable post-fried-food-nap!
Beach Road Chicken Dinners
4132 Atlantic Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32207