I nibbled on a hot biscuit slathered in butter as
By the ‘50’s and ‘60’s Americans needed big highways to support the big cars and big dreams of the post-war economy. Enter President Dwight Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System. Damn progress as well as the torpedoes! Route 66 literally fell by the Interstate wayside.
Thankfully Grace and Dell Rhea rescued the Chicken Basket from going the route of most of the mom and pop establishments along the now defunct Route 66. Think chicken running around with its head cut off. I know, a bit graphic, but sadly true up until 1963 when this prominent Chicago businessman, once executive director of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, purchased the relic and added his name to the sign out front to encourage his many friends to stop in and say hello over a basket of “the best fried chicken in the Chicagoland area.”
Suffice it to say, there was nothing fast food about this chicken, especially given the 30-minute prep time. No way was a heat lamp responsible for the internal temperature of that crispy, juicy, golden concoction making immediate consumption too hot to handle. If it was any fresher I’d be picking feathers off my plate; all the more reason to throw caution and my cholesterol to the wind.
Was this “the best fried chicken in the Chicagoland area?”
Let’s just say, we all cleaned our plates/baskets. The three repeat customers keeping me company came up with differing opinions. We all know you can never really return home. Memory usually exceeds any homecoming expectations.
I’ll leave you with that food for thought!
We did agree at the end of the night that we all felt a bit more like spring chickens after getting our kicks (and "the best fried chicken in all of Chicagoland") on Route 66.
Bottom Line on Dell Rhea Chicken Basket:
Verdict: Lots to crow about when it comes to the fried chicken at Dell Rhea Chicken Basket.
How To Get There: From Chicago, take Lake Shore Drive south to I55 exchange. Head south on I55 towards St. Louis. Take exit 274 and merge onto IL-83 N/Kingery Road S. Turn right onto Midway Drive, right on S Quincy St and right onto N. Frontage Rd/Joliet Rd. Destination will be on the left.
Insider Information: If fried chicken is your weakness, you’ll want to stop in on Tuesday for the all-you-can-eat special.