Light, flaky, crispy fried chicken in a family-owned restaurant. There’s nothing like it, and you’ll find it at Stroud’s Restaurant
A couple weeks ago I was in Kansas City for the men’s Big 12 basketball tournament. OSU had lost on Wednesday evening, but I stayed a couple of extra days to watch West Virginia play. My original plan had been to leave on Friday morning, but WVU won big Thursday night, so I decided to stay one more day.
Since I had all day to myself Thursday, I had lots of time to work on the blog. But when I tried to log on Thursday morning, I couldn’t get in at all. I tried again after my lunch at Beer Kitchen, and still nothing. I spent 90 minutes on the phone with James from godaddy.com; he was friendly and helpful, but nothing. We thought it could possibly be the hotel wi-fi, but at that point I was so frustrated and it was time to head towards downtown for the game. Late Friday morning I found a Starbucks about 15 minutes away…lo and behold, it worked on the first try. I was SO aggravated. Mainly, because the hotel wi-fi was blocking me. Second, because I had wasted an entire afternoon struggling with the blog. And third, I couldn’t work on the blog from the comfort of my room.
After about an hour at Starbucks I was getting hungry. I hadn’t made a lunch plan, because my sole focus was on getting into my blog to make updates. Just like Thursday, I considered Country Club Plaza, but I still couldn’t find anything that jumped out at me. There was no chance I was going downtown to the Power & Light District, because it would be packed with basketball fans. So I figured I would go back to Westport, and drive around until something spoke to me.
As I was heading towards Westport, I drove past Stroud’s Restaurant. Our Athletic Director, Coach Holder, raves about Stroud’s. He doesn’t play around when it comes to food, so when he recommends something I listen. Last summer when I was in San Francisco, he told me I had to go to Tadich Grill. I listened, and had an amazing meal.
There are 4 Stroud’s locations, 2 in Kansas and 2 in Missouri. I swear I never know if I’m in Missouri or Kansas when I go to the tournament, because the cities just kind of blend into each other. Stroud’s opened in 1933, and began as a BBQ restaurant. During World War II beef was being rationed, so they developed a recipe for pan fried chicken, the same recipe they use today. That chicken is what Stroud’s is known for. I really like that they offer 50% off a meal for active and retired military on the first Tuesday of every month. I went to the location in Fairway, KS, and it turns out that it’s actually the original building that was relocated there in 2006.
Stroud’s is very spacious inside. It kind of reminds me of a combination of a diner and your grandmother’s kitchen, as there is a lot of chicken decor throughout, and the tablecloths are red/white checkerboard. The main dining room has booths on either side, and tables down the middle. The booths along the window are really cool, and are kind of like their own little dining space. There is a really big bar area that is separated from the main dining room by a long half wall.
When I’m dining at a restaurant for the first time, I like to take my time to peruse the menu. So when my server came up after just a couple of minutes to ask if I was ready, I was a little put-off. Then she explained why…the group of 19 U of Texas alumni who were hanging out in the bar were about to be seated in her section, and she wanted to get my order in first. She immediately won some points in my book.
I remember my boss Matt telling me how much food you get at Stroud’s, so I was very happy to see a lunch menu with smaller portions. They’ve got 2 appetizers, 5 entrees, 4 sandwiches, and a few sides. They also offer weekday lunch specials. The dinner menu of course is larger, and the main expansion is with the entrees, where they also offer shrimp, salmon, catfish, pork chops and steak. One of the appetizers is chicken livers & gizzards. Coach Holder was thoroughly appalled when I told him I didn’t get the livers and gizzards, but he also likes his steak rare and thinks I’m nuts for going medium.
I started with the house salad, with bleu cheese dressing on the side
I was very pleasantly surprised to see a spring lettuce mix in this salad. So many restaurant house salads these days use only iceberg lettuce, the least nutritious type around. The croutons were fresh, and the dressing had nice big chunks of bleu cheese in them.
Every entree comes with green beans
I am normally not a fan of “well done” green beans, as I prefer mine to have some crunch and texture to them. But these were cooked with bacon fat, so how could I possibly go wrong? The beans were fabulous, and even though it was a large serving, I devoured most of them.
Entrees also come with a choice of mashed potatoes, cottage fries, french fries, or baked potato. I would normally go french fries, but I asked my server and she recommended the mashed potatoes because they use 100% real potatoes. Can’t go wrong with 100%
The potatoes were incredible. They were light, creamy, fluffy, and delicious. I don’t typically do gravy on my potatoes, but I tried a little bit and it was fantastic as well.
The chicken was the crowning glory. I was so happy that they offered dark meat as an option. I’m 100% a dark meat girl, so that made my day. Sometimes fried chicken is very greasy. It doesn’t stop me from eating it, but it requires lots more napkins. There was nothing greasy about this chicken. The crust was so light and flaky, and almost fell apart in my hands. I’m guessing that is what happens with pan frying. The last thing I needed was more food, but I have to admit I was disappointed I only had 2 pieces of chicken. I briefly–VERY briefly–considered ordering another plate, just to take back with me. But I held off.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the last thing to come to the table was a cinnamon roll.
I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t a huge roll; instead, it was just the right size. I had just one bite at the restaurant, and took the rest back to my hotel. I also took the rest of the mashed potatoes and gravy. I actually wasn’t going to take the gravy, and my server asked if I didn’t like it. I told her I did, and she guilted me into it. But in the end, I happily ate it all as leftovers when I got back to Stillwater.
Will I go back to Stroud’s? You know it. It was a great experience, and the food was amazing. Next time I might very well get extra chicken to take home.