After too many days of eating civilized food at the cottage, I was in dire need of something old fashioned. I convinced my fellow cottagers to stop at the Dixie Lee in Barry’s Bay for some good old fashioned fried chicken.
Boasting to have the “best chicken in town”, what else could we do in this town of 1100 souls of the Madwaska Valley? You could support the establishment of the Janusz Żurakowski’s Museum, but that we would still leave you with an empty stomach. So Dixie Lee it had to be. And I didn’t have, in all fairness, much convincing to do.The first Dixie Lee opened in Belleville in 1964 and is the original of a chain now counting over 80 restaurants in Canada, the United States, Dubaï and Ukraine. The international headquarters are now in Napanee, Ontario. Really.
The Dixie Lee in Barry’s Bay is obviously catering to cottage country folks and is not the most attractive establishment, even by the chain’s standard.
You order your food at a counter and then find a table, hoping that it was cleaned properly. Which was not the case for the bathrooms. Anyway.Dixie Lee offers a southern-style fried chicken, but for the non-chicken eaters, fish and chips are also highly promoted. In fact, the Dixie Lee logo is a waltzing fish and chicken couple. Cute.
Starving, I was, so I ordered a 4 piece meal, which included 2 pieces of white meat; 2 more of brown; fries and a small cup of macaroni salad. To complete my meal, I added a medium serving of gravy and a coke. All that for under $10.00.
I have to admit that the chicken was fairly well done as far as fast food fried chicken goes. The pieces were smallish, but niceley breaded and golden crisp. It could have been a tad bit crispier, but then it might have ended up a lot more greasier, which it probably didn’t need to be. The chicken wasn’t dry at all, and dipped in the gravy, the mix of spices worked very well. Talking of gravy, it was actually quite tasty at first, not overly salty and not too thick. But it was in the end kind of boring, probably trying to please everyone by keeping it fairly unadventurous.
As for the fries, they were half-decent, but I certainly wouldn’t try one of their poutines. The macaroni salad was a little too creamy, as it usually is, but tasted fresh and was a nice side-dish to accompany my fried chicken.
A word about the fish, which I didn’t try but could observe quite closely: Calinda had a small piece of overdone, unkown fish filet. When a place boast about having the best chicken in town, do not order the fish. Lesson learned.
If you are allergic to MSG, be aware that their chicken may contain traces of it. They claim they are working on getting rid of it, but who knows if that will actually happen.I left frankly quite happy about this injection of tasty nutrients. Perhaps I should try to open my own franchise, which I could do for as low as $150 000…
Before leaving Barry’s Bay, I did stopped at the Żurakowski memorial, which was opened in honor of this world-famous test pilot. A sized-down model of the Avro Arrow and a statue of the WWII veteran are there, waiting for the actual Museum to be built.