Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken Review

Guss World Famous Fried Chicken Review

Harry Rubin, Copy Editor

By Harry Rubin, World Famous Copy Editor

The first thing that a first-time Gus’s customer should expect is waiting. Lots of waiting.

Anyone who has driven down Manchester between Big Bend and McCausland in the past month can tell you that in front of Gus’s there exists a constant, snaking line. If you think you can beat the crowds by arriving at a non-peak time, you’re wrong. The line is as long at 4:30 as it is at 7:30. If I hadn’t taken part in the line myself, I could easily be convinced that the line never moves, that a fake crowd is planted in front of the place at all times to trick people into thinking the restaurant is busy.

By the time I had made my way from the back of the line to the front, around 45 minutes had passed, the sky had turned from something that could easily still be considered blue to black enough to the point that if the sky were a cat, and you crossed its path, you would be pretty messed up for a while. But still, there are worse ways to spend 45 minutes than standing in a line, hungry. You could be reading a second-rate high school newspaper.

After 45 minutes, I was finally seated and given a menu. The menu is quite simple, consisting only of chicken and nine sides and appetizers, four of which are different varieties of fried vegetables. A permanent sign placed outside the door jokingly reads “Today’s Special: Chicken.” This allowed me to decide rather quickly what I was going to order– chicken.

Let me make one thing about Gus’s perfectly clear: it isn’t fast food. One could easily be deceived into making this assumption, based on the fact that the food is served in paper and plastic. For those who crave fast-food chicken, there’s a Popeye’s down the road. The main difference is that each order is made completely from scratch, to order. This is completely unnecessary, given that your order could only possibly be one thing: chicken. And of course, you could more easily describe a tortoise as fast than the service at Gus’s. Gus’s isn’t nearly as cheap as Popeye’s either. To get a reasonably-sized meal at Gus’s, you need to pay around 15 dollars. But that’s the price one must pay to get chicken that hasn’t been kept warm sitting under a lightbulb for six hours.

After ordering my food, I had to wait another 45 minutes for its arrival. A big question still on my mind is what took them 45 minutes to do? It wasn’t as if I had ordered something too complicated, something that required multiple cooks to struggle over for extended periods of time. They only have one thing on the menu, and that was what I ordered. But still, there are worse ways to spend 45 minutes than sitting on a wooden bench, hungry. You could be standing in a line, hungry.

The chicken was quite tasty, to say the least. It’s possible that I was so delusional after spending 90 minutes starving that I would’ve found the chopped up bits of rubber that they fill playgrounds with tasty, too, but either way, I enjoyed the chicken.

The chicken itself isn’t your Colonel’s Extra Crispy. Billed as “Hot & Spicy,” Gus’s chicken is very thinly breaded with a peppery taste. It is at the level of heat where a bottle of honey is kept on hand for the weak-tongued patrons, but at the level where most of the patrons shake their heads at those with the honey, thinking, wimps. The chicken inside is moist. The sides, meanwhile are nothing special. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had come out of the kitchen and yelled, “Surprise! You just ate beans from KFC!” Despite this, the taste of the chicken would be enough to bring me back, if the long lines and high prices don’t keep me away.
Boastfully describing itself as “World Famous,” Gus’s Maplewood outlet is its 11th location and the first to come to St. Louis. What does it mean to be “World Famous?” Certainly most of the world has never heard of Gus’s. Up until the past few months, most of St. Louis had never heard of Gus’s. Can someone call himself “World Famous” just for having name recognition among a handful of people? While you mull that over, this has been the World Famous Harry Rubin reporting for the World Famous Globe Newsmagazine.