"If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . .

Junior Burger
2004/04/04 01:46:51
. . .you haven't eaten fried chicken."

Or so their T-shirts say.

Last weekend, my g/f and I went to Bozo's in Mason, Tennessee and I posted about that visit in the BBQ forum. I mentioned in that thread that the aroma fromnearby Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken tempted me, so I made a return visit to Mason this past Saturday afternoon.

I am breaking in a rebuilt engine on my motorcycle, so like last weekend, I stuck to the backroads between Memphis and Mason in order to keep the speeds variable and slow. During the ride, we once again saw that ZEBRA! in a pasture eating grass among a herd of mules, but I digress.

We arrived at Gus's around 4:30 or so in the p.m. on Saturday afternoon. We were the only customers at that time, but the place quickly began to fill up shortly after we arrived. We took a seat at a table and had to wait several minutes before a girl working there took our order. I ordered the 2 pc dark plate but asked specifically for two thighs. My g/f got the two pc dark plate too, and it came with a leg and a thigh. The plates comes with beans and slaw, and we each ordered a side of french fries too.

Our food arrived quickly. The beans were nondescript. There was some Crsytal hot sauce on the table, so I added it to them to give 'em a boost. The mayo-based slaw was flavorful, if a bit sweet. My g/f suggested it was similar to KFC, yet good. The fries were not exceptional but certainly edible.

But the sides really weren't why were there. We came for the yardbird!

My fried chicken thighs were fried very dark. They were not very greasy at all and it looked like they were fried to the point of being well done. The batter was very crisp, flavorful, and mildly spicy. Inside, the chicken was hot, moist, tender and cooked to perfection. The flavor of the meat balanced very nicely with the crisp and spicy texture of the batter and skin. My g/f enjoyed hers too, and was curious about the dark color of the breading and pleased with the relative "ungreasiness". My thighs were a bit on the smallish side, so I later ordered a breast because the chicken tasted so good and I had room for a little more! The breast was as enjoyable as the thighs. It was also not as dinky in size as the two thighs.

In sum, Gus's is certainly worth a stop if you are in the general area. My local favorite, Jack Pirtle's, is equally enjoyable yet different. Plus, Pirtle's has gravy fries! Maybe I need to do some quality control at Pirtle's soon and post a full report.

RE: "If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . . 2004/04/04 09:58:20

I agree with your opinion of Gus's. The chicken is really good but the sides leave a lot to be desired. You are really talking chicken when you mention Pirtle's! They have the best tasting chicken that I have ever eaten! They have been located in Memphis for ever and use the most flavorable spices. It that makes you want to eat more and more. Please go get an order and while you are digging in write a description. I currently live in Jackson and miss my Pirtle's fix. The next time you get a nice Sat. and need a place to go get on your bike and head up to Lexington, Tn. and eat at Hay's Smokehouse. I ate their yesterday and had plate of ribs, potato salad, slaw, beans and a roll. They cook over real wood and every bite is pure heaven. The ribs are so flavorable that you will not look for any sauce. Just bring your appetite and be ready to enjoy. Everything on the menu is great. Ask to meet Mr.and Mrs. Hays. They are fine people and tell them Bob sent you!
Junior Burger
RE: "If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . . 2004/04/04 12:30:39

Hay's Smokehouse is definitely on the "to do" list after reading so much about them on this board. Once the rings seat on my bike, we'll probably take a ride to Lexington.

I am trying to watch what I eat to some degree, so I'll wait a bit before I satisfy my own Pirtle's craving (since I just ate fried chicken at Gus's!). In addition to the chicken at Pirtle's being so good, their gravy on top of their crinkle cut fries is fantastic! Have you ever had their weird little steak sandwhich with the gravy and slaw on it? I usually forget about it since I almost always go there for the fried chicken. Thinking about that steak sandwhich is making my mouth water.
Junior Burger
RE: "If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . . 2005/03/30 00:51:10
Brings back memories of college at Memphis State when I read about "Jacques Pirtles." The chicken was good, especially when chased down with a six-pack of cold Busch.

But the thing I still remember was the gravy that came in a plastic container, along with two biscuits. It was the best part of the meal.

Tim G.
Filet Mignon
RE: "If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . . 2005/03/30 01:37:01
Bluetick, great post!! Thanks! And by all means--get to Hays!!! BTW---exactly what is that ride with the new engine work
RE: "If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . . 2005/03/31 22:58:11
I have wanted to try Gus's since reading about it in GQ or Esquire a few years back. They rated it America's best chicken. UNfortunately I was living on the wrong end of the state. Now that I'm in Nashville I may take a weekend roadtrip to West Tennessee, have an early lunch at Hay's and an early dinner at Gus's.

How does the spiciness compare to the hot chicken they sell here in Nashville?
Junior Burger
RE: "If you haven't eaten at Gus's. . . 2005/04/24 20:23:31
Just went to Gus' about 2 weeks ago.

Oh. My. God.

Best chicken I've ever eaten. Even the breast meat is juicy and flavorful!

The sides? Barely edible.

But the chicken is not to be believed.