Chicago's storefront chicken aficionados have no shortage of options, particularly on the Northwest Side. Nick's may not be the best, but its ambience is certainly a few notches above most. Dozens of gently-worn road signs hang on bright yellow walls, a kitschy nostalgia interrupted only by Chicago Fire memorabilia and newspaper clippings. Bumblebee yellow awnings beckon you inside, puffy red swivel stools invite you to stay, and the fryer plucked from the dozens roasting and warming on the grill and brought to your styrofoam plate might make you a regular.
Those birds have been sitting near the flames for hours, so they arrive tender skinned and falling off the bone. Whether quarter, half or whole, light or dark, all orders are served with a warm pita and your choice of green or red salsa, barbecue sauce or one of more than a dozen hot sauces stocked behind the counter.
Chicken is pretty much the entire menu. Good thing it's tasty. The salsa is a bit watery and the mashed potatoes are fine, if not exactly worth texting home about. Unaccompanied poultry and pita costs $3-$4. A combo meal, which includes a choice of six sides (mac 'n cheese to Spanish rice) and a fountain soda, is $6.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Justin Sondak