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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Road Trip: Fryer's, Melrose

Chicken shack serves perfect fried chicken

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

I've lived in Gainesville my entire adult life. I must have made over a zillion Atlantic Ocean odysseys:

040617FRYERSsfzzGLOBbullet taking my daughter Jana and her middle school pals to the beach to lay out, hang out, and try to eat any and all junk food in sight.

zzGLOBbullet spending a week vacation at a beach front rental and living the resort life with sand and surf adventures.

zzGLOBbullet That time i drove over to help the oldest daughter pull her new car out of the sand dune that somehow engulfed her car.

In the last couple of months GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk tells me she has heard from people in Melrose that Fryers at 321 SR 26 has the best fried chicken in North Florida.

Gainesville's Eating Professional has overlooked a prize fried chicken shack that has been in existence for over 20 years!?!?

040617FRYERSpepsiI immediately told the GLOB's historian Jon Roosenraad of my decade old miscue, and that we should check out this eight-piece-box-of-white-and-dark-meat mecca right away.

So we did.

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning as we pointed our lunch mobile East, to the center of deep, down in Florida in search of the perfect three piece chicken lunch.

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning as we pointed our lunch mobile east in search of the perfect fried chicken lunch. I don't mean to upset the chicken box here, but I wasn't thinking about breasts, wings, legs, or thighs. All I could think about was a giant plate of crisp, crunchy, hot, juicy, chewy fried gizzards.

Simple, nondescript, and functional is a good way to define Wayne's Fryer's Chicken,.



The Fryer's menu is on the wall. A few small tables circle the dining area where the line starts early as customers gather for their lunch time fried fowl fix.

There it was on the menu: Gizzards sm $2.99. lg $3.99.

I was told the small order of gizzards was in fact one pound of sinewy, chewy bliss. I ordered the small order of gizzards accompanied with cole slaw and a corn fritter. I wanted to go for the 2 lb. order but I just wasn't fowl enough for the action.



All was right in the GLOB Master's world as I crunched through the perfectly deep fried, crispy coated tender dark gizzard meat and wonderfully chewy part that holds them together.

I offered the good professor the opportunity to dig into my mountain of chewy, organ meat bliss. And like a good trooper he did in fact try one with what I would call an anxious, inquisitive look.

"I think I will stick with my chicken dinner Mike." was his only remark.



Rosey was pleased with his friend chicken dinner and ordered six additional corn fritters to take back to Gainesville. Impressed with lunch, he was amazed:

040617FRYERSfloor"Any time people pour into a shack in little old Melrose at 11:15 in the morning, something good must be inside. Fantastic chicken – had a large, perfectly breaded and fried moist breast. Paired with some of the best mac 'n cheese around (don't get a large size – that's for two). Fries looked less than average so skip them and go for the fried okra instead. Nice addition is warm apple fritters. Eat 'em as a roll or as dessert. Only thing missing was an ice cold Pabst!"


Roosenraad makes a good point as we return to Hogtown completely satisfied with our fried chicken lunch find. "How come there aren't any locally-owned fried chicken shacks like that in Gainesville Mike?' he asked with a hint of envy in his voice.


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