Fans of fast food fried chicken have a new option in town – and this one is locally owned.
Dave Dunn, who formerly owned Emerson Biggin’s, opened Bud E. Roosters in the former Go! Steaks spot at 8918 W. 21st St. in June. It’s a fast-food concept restaurant in the vein of the Louisiana-based chain Raising Canes, which has 150 restaurants across the country. Dunn has said he hopes his Bud E. Roosters will be the first of a franchise.
The menu is simple, straight-forward and kid friendly, populated almost solely by chicken fingers.
ON THE MENU Bud E. Roosters serves fried chicken in the form of fingers, nuggets and sandwiches. It also offers six types of dipping sauces, from spicy buffalo to honey mustard to barbecue.
The only other items on the menu are fries, mashed potatoes, toast, a fried chicken salad, brownies and milkshakes.
DON’T MISS DISHES If you’re craving chicken fingers, Bud E. Roosters’ are as good as any. The breading is flavorful and not greasy, though I would have liked it a tad crispier. The fingers come in regular or spicy, and the spicy actually has a nice kick.
The food is served in an attractive, glossy cardboard boxes decorated with the restaurant logo, which makes it easy to take the food or leftovers to go. (Bud E. Roosters also has a drive-through, though it takes some thinking to figure out how to access it if you approach the restaurant from 21st St.)
Chicken finger combo meals are served with either a side of fries or mashed potatoes and gravy plus a piece of buttery toast and a drink. A three finger combo is $5.99, four is $6.99 and six is $8.99. The fingers alone are $2.99 for three, $3.99 for four and $5.99 for six. There is an upcharge for the spicy fingers as well.
We ordered the four-finger combo with a side of fries, which were a little soft but had a nice seasoning. The fries were better than the mashed potatoes, which were made with the skins and topped in gravy and tasted fine, but the whole dish was sort of gray.
The person who took our order was nice enough to give us a sampling of all the sauces – spicy buffalo, honey mustard, ranch, sweet barbecue, country gravy and rooster sauce, a tasty and very different oil-based sauce that was a lot like Italian vinaigrette. Most of the sauces were pretty standard but good, and both the fries and the chicken tasted good slathered with them.
Chicken sandwiches in regular or spicy also are available and are served on butter-toasted buns with the option of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and American or pepper jack cheese on top. The sandwiches taste great and are colorful and appetizing with all the vegetables on them. The only problem is that the sandwiches are made out of two chicken fingers rather than a whole piece of chicken, so they fall apart easily if not handled carefully. A regular sandwich combo with a drink and a side is $5.99. A spicy sandwich combo is $6.49.
Those who are very, very hungry also can get a 25-finger box for $24.99 or a 100-finger box for $89.99.
Bud E. Roosters also has some sweets, including soft-serve ice cream and chocolate, strawberry or vanilla shakes, which are $2.69 for a small and $2.99 for a large. We tried the vanilla, which was thick and creamy and not too sweet. Brownies also are on the menu for $1.69 apiece, but they were out when we visited.
AMBIANCE The dining room is clean and bright with standard fast-food decor. It has tall and short tables as well as booths, and the walls are decorated with hand-drawn cartoons depicting various versions of the “chicken crosses the road” joke. Country music is piped into the dining room through speakers.
PRICE RANGE Reasonable. Diners can get plenty full for $7 or less. Kid meals are $2.99 to $3.99.
SERVICE Fast and friendly.