Monthly Feature, By Jarred Kibbey
I am not from Little Rock and had never spent much time here before taking my first job out of college. I knew of the popular chains, but that was about it. My first “off the beaten path” food experience was with take-out from Chicken King in North Little Rock.
I worked in what could lovingly be referred to as a cube farm. So when someone eats something aromatic at their desk, the whole office got to enjoy it, for better or worse. One day I smelled intense combination of spicy, sweet, garlicy, and fried. I had to find out what it was because the smell was so strong. It turns out it was the garlic hot wings from Chicken King. My co-workers were raving about how good they were, so I asked them to let me know the next time they went. Well, they went again the next day and I was hooked.
Chicken King became currency at work. Bets were often settled by orders of Chicken King. A friend once won a bet and the payoff was 75 garlic hot wings. We decided that it would be a good idea to order them all at once and the two of us to sit at our work desk and eat them in one sitting. It turns out, some “good ideas” are not that good in retrospect. It was a struggle to finish them and we ultimately had to call in reinforcements, which were not hard to find because it was never too hard to figure out when Chicken King was in the building.
If you have never been to Chicken King, then you need to know that it is take-out only. It is best to call your order in. They only serve chicken wings, fried shrimp, fried catfish, and fried pork chops. If you choose to be adventurous, as The Mighty Rib and I were, and eat them on the hood of your car, they will not even provide a place inside to throw the trash away. But what they will provide you with is some of the best chicken wings you have ever had.
I generally am not a huge fan of chicken wings. There is always something off about them. Not cooked enough. Cooked too long. Sauce is too thick. Too Spicy. Not Spicy enough. And the list goes on. Chicken King has the wing figured out, and while it isn’t the easiest place to get to for most people in the metro area, it is worth the drive. Just be prepared for many repeat visits.
NOTE: While it is takeout only, the wings travel incredibly well, so do not let this dissuade you from giving it a shot.