Updated July 14, 2021: Price’s Chicken Coop closed in summer of 2021 with no plans to reopen.
The smell of fried chicken begins when you enter the airspace immediately surrounding Price’s Chicken Coop. When you walk in the door of the restaurant, the service counter and the open cooking area behind it seem to transport you—with that delicious fried chicken smell—all the way back to 1962, when Price’s opened its doors in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You can get a lot of things at Price’s, but on your first visit you should order the quarter chicken dinner, white or dark meat to suit your taste. For about $8, you’ll receive a plate with fried chicken breast and wing or drumstick, crinkle-cut French fries, coleslaw, two cornbread hushpuppies and a white dinner roll. You can add a sweet tea for $1, and various desserts are available for a little more than $2 extra. But the pie slices are pre-packaged, so we didn’t jump at the chance for dessert.
That’s OK because the chicken (dinner) is the star of this show anyways. You’ll notice a little bit of grease on your dinner box, but if you don’t like that, or even prefer that, I’ve got to ask: What do you expect with true fried chicken? There’s no overabundance of grease, and the chicken is crunchy outside, juicy and meaty inside, with a nice but not overdone seasoned flavor. It’s fried chicken like I’d expect to eat at a church or community supper back in the 1960s, fitting for Price’s founding.
The hushpuppies weren’t too greasy either, and they offered just a hint of sweetness. The coleslaw was good, crunchy and a tad sweet, but it also carried a slight mustard flavor. That’s not my preference for slaw, but I realized it is for some other diners so I can’t knock it. Many people might also knock the simple dinner roll in the box, but I must say I quite enjoyed it because it gave me the opportunity to take part of the large chicken breast and make a little sandwich out of it. I fancy any meal that offers me a chance to make my own sandwich as part of the festivities.
When I finished my meal, all that remained was a box that was empty, except for a couple of gnawed chicken bones and a few dirty napkins. I actually stretched and settled back into my seat. Those are descriptions I would characterize as evidence of a great Southern meal.
A few #FoodieScore Pro Tips for you before you go to Price’s Chicken Coop. Take cash with you because debit cards, credit cards and checks aren’t accepted. And don’t expect to “dine in” because there’s no seating at this walk-in and take-out-only spot.
Price’s Chicken Coop, 1614 Camden Road, Charlotte, N.C.