Some folks in the Miami Valley have fond memories of old drive-in restaurants where they would show up in a fancy hot rod, sometimes wearing a letter sweater or a poodle skirt, and enjoy an order of crispy fried chicken.
The old hangouts are gone, for the most part, but the classic crispy Parkmoor drive-in fried chicken has a new incarnation in a modern setting. It’s appreciated by 57-year-old Earl Jones of Springboro, who used to go to the Parkmoor on Salem Avenue when he was younger.
“Parkmoor was memorable,” Jones said. “It was my family’s favorite takeout place, and we used to order and take home that wonderful Parkmoor ‘Dixie Golden Fried Chicken.’ It was delicious.”
Jones remembers the radio jingle from the 1960s:
“Parkmoor has what no one else has got.
“Parkmoor has Dixie Golden Chicken, that’s what.”
Jones added, “Sadly, when the Parkmoor restaurants closed, I thought the chicken was gone forever. But now I have good news for my fellow Parkmoor chicken fans.”
Jones stumbled across a notice online that the Parkmoor fried chicken recipe had been saved by one of the owners of Fricker’s restaurants, a chain of 8 eateries in the Miami Valley, 18 total in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
Fricker’s confirmed they have the recipe and offer a Parkmoor chicken dinner on the second Thursday of each month.
The general manager of the Fricker’s restaurant at 6280 Chambersburg Road in Huber Heights, Jerry Robinson, said an owner of the Fricker’s corporation, Jeff Carter, obtained the “secret” chicken recipe from one of the late owners of Parkmoor.
“We have used the recipe to make chicken for some catered events, and finally Jeff suggested we try it one night a month at our store,” Robinson said. “We have been doing it now since May, and it is growing with each month. The first Thursday night we offered it we had 33 customers, and I think last month we had close to 100 chicken customers.”
Carter said the Huber Heights restaurant is the only one serving the Parkmoor chicken, but there are “meetings going on, and we are kicking around the idea of offering the Parkmoor chicken every Sunday at all our Fricker’s outlets.”
Carter said he has the legal rights to use the Parkmoor recipe at his stores.
“We sell the original Parkmoor offering and it has been more successful than we could have imagined,” he said. “The people are nostalgic, and they also like the food. We are pleased to add this to our menu from time to time.”
The Parkmoor fried chicken dinner will be available tonight, Aug. 13, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Huber Heights restaurant.
“We offer the original four pieces of chicken, a breast, a wing, a leg and a thigh,” Carter said. “Just like at Parkmoor, we offer a side order of coleslaw and the same crinkle-cut french fries. It costs $6.99 a meal. The chicken always has a crunchy outside. That’s one of the secrets.”
Jones, who drives from Springboro to Huber Heights on the second Thursday of each month for the treat, said he brought his parents, who are in their 70s, with him last month. “They said afterwards that the chicken passes the taste test. It really does taste exactly like the old Parkmoor chicken.”
Carter said customers can order the chicken dinner to go, but warned they only offer it as long as the supply lasts.
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