Review Archive/August 2013
Updated August 5, 2013
Original Chicken N Ribs ; Charlotte, NC
A New Attitdue!
By Jay Whipple/Trend Magazine Online™
I have been dining at this establishment for nearly two decades and am finally getting around to writing a review. Sometimes we take for granted the things that are right under our noses and or considered common place. I have also been mentioning this eatery on our very popular Black African-American Heritage Tours™ for the same length of time. I tell our tour guests that this place has the best Polk (Pork) Chop Samiges (Sandwiches) in the area and that it used to be called Skip’s Original Chicken N Ribs; but Skip skipped – if you know what I mean. I usually get a chuckle or two from our tour guests and occasionally an inquiry as to how to get back to their local.
This take-out only restaurant dates back to 1952 and is located in what we call the heart of the Black community in the Queen City -- known as the Northwest Corridor. The neighborhood is called Washington Heights which was the first street car suburb for Blacks in Charlotte. It is situated along Beatties Ford Road which is named in honor of an early Scottish-Irish farmer-settler from Pennsylvania – John Beatty. This road used to dead end at the Catawba River going north west, and there used to be a low spot that folks would cross called a ford – hence the name Beatties Ford Road. On the south side of Charlotte is Nations Ford Road, named in honor of the nation of Indians. It too once crossed the Catawba River but to the south. We know that you are not from Charlotte, or are new here when you pronounce this street’s name as it is spelled -- as opposed to the correct pronunciation; which is “Bayties.”
Now, back to the matter at hand; this establishment underwent major renovations in the last year and although it looks a thousand percent better in terms of esthetics, my concern was simple. Did you change stoves and is the food going to be the same? Well, the stoves were replaced and I will let you know about the food shortly. I typically stop by this place after one of our Queen City Tours® and such was the case this time. This time, however, I was greeted by a very nice white lady who cordially greeted me and asked to take my order. I must admit that although the food here is the bomb, the service was to the contrary as I am normally greeted by sad and vexed faces. I guess with the new digs comes new and improved attitudes. I applaud this welcomed change.
Inside was very clean and I cannot remember the exact sanitation rating except that it was well above 90. They added this new sort of digital-type overhead menu which makes it easy to see and select ones order. Before the renovations they would hand you this worn out paper menu if you were not familiar with their selections. They also added a digital flat-screen TV to watch while your order is being prepared. Before, the only entertainment would be provided by some of the interesting neighborhood characters that would occasionally show up to order. Finally, they have AC that now works -- or it may have worked before, but I did not notice it; which means it was not doing its job properly.
It was Friday so I ordered the Mini Perch Box with a medium punch with lemon mixed (Da bomb) and a cup of water. Why waiting for my order I got a chance to ask the tall Black guy behind the counter if the photo on their wall was that of Skip? He gave me this look as to suggest – “What you talking about Willis!” Mr. Blackman then set me straight and let me know that the two gentlemen pictured were his father and grandfather. Wow – I thought; great! This business is indeed a rarity because reportedly 97% of Black-owned businesses typically die with the founder. I was also elated to learn that he has two sons who hopefully will carry on this tradition of entrepreneurialship.
My order was up in about 20 minutes but I did not mind the extra time as I was taking in all of the good news about the new Chicken N Ribs. My total bill came to $8.39 ($.30 for the water) which is not bad for dinner. My perch order included coleslaw, fries, and hush puppies as sides. The slaw was very creamy and tasted homemade and not store bought. The fries were just like I prefer them, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The hushpuppies were good but a tad bit over fried. The fish, however, I was not too thrilled about because it was over battered and too hard fried. The tartar sauce – on the other hand –was sweet and tasty and what I would consider unique enough to be labeled homemade. Keep in mind that this place is well known for chicken, ribs, burgers, and pork chops, and not fish.
All in all it was a good experience at one of my old time favorite mom and pops in and around the Queen City. The new renovations – and attitudes -- were welcomed additions and I look forward to my next visit. I will just have to remember to never mention Skip who skipped.
Find them in CBP's Black Pages Worldwide™
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