Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chickie's and Pete's: A Stream-of-Consciousness Review

So there's a Chickie's and Pete's near us now. That's right. We live in Norristown and Philadelphia famous crab fry emporium moved in right across the street. Which is funny, because they say they are in Audubon. But don't get me started on that, as other people who live in Norristown like to say they are from Eagleville or Jeffersonville. I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with making sure people do not think you live in a crack house. Anyway, they opened the place in November, I believe (right after the Phillies' last meteoric flop), and we have been wanting to check it out ever since, but were never able to find the time. Two Thursdays ago, we found the time. The place is a lot smaller than the one in South Philly, but they were able to make it spacious enough. Which is odd when you consider how much real estate is covered by pictures of the owner with famous and semi-famous Philadelphia sports personalities. A very friendly server took our order. The first thing we ordered, of course, was crab fries. This is something that I think you are required by law to order if you go to any Chickie's and Pete's. They came in a sizeable basket that can be shared by two. The basket itself is pretty ingenious, as it features a cupholder on both sides. A cheese cup is placed in each end so that you don't have to keep asking your dining partner to pass the cheese. Pretty smart. I'm not going to lie: These were quite tasty. And really they better be as the place has pretty much made its name on these crab fries. That, though, got me thinking: What is so special about this appetizer? It's a bunch of fries - just the right texture and width, but still - a boatload of Old Bay, and a fine cheese sauce. It is probably a little bit insane the lengths people go to give props to this potato dish (as many plaques in the establishment attest). Next up was the main course - a Buffalo Cutlet sandwich for me and a BBQ Burger for the wife. I found the Buffalo Cutlet sandwich to be agreeable, but there were definite drawbacks. First of all, the chicken sandwich came out quite gently sauced. The wife had to buck up and ask them to bring me out a side of buffalo (I can be shy). Second, the sandwich was somewhat small. While the chicken was tender and moist, I would say that I probably killed the whole thing in about eight bites. That is a little bit tiny when you consider that the sandwich cost [BLANK] (wow, they are savvy; no prices on the Internet menu; think it was around nine bucks) and doesn't come with fries (no surprise; they want you to buy the crab fries, folks). As for the wife's burger, I can't vouch for it really. I did have a bite and thought it adequate, but it was very thin for a non-fast-food burger. As for beers, I had two. The first was a Victory HopDevil. The second was a Victory HopDevil. Did I do this because I just love Victory HopDevil? No (although it is splendid). I found that the taste of the beer was good, but probably not the freshness that you would expect at a stellar beer bar. In actuality, I ordered the same beer twice (something I never do) because it was really the only decent beer on the docket. In scanning the beer menu online, I realize that might be a SLIGHTLY unfair statement (they have Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on draft and Newcastle in bottle), but the bottom line is this is not a place you would ever think to go if you wanted to kill anything but Miller/Coors/Bud in 30 oz. glasses designed to make you want to order more crab fries. Here's the thing: This is not the place for me. The beer choices are not acceptable and the food is not good enough to make you want to forget that fact. Also, I have the sneaking suspicion that it is most likely packed with tools on a frequent-to-perpetual basis. Still, I feel it appropriate to point out some positives. First off, our server was quite nice. Did she fall into a conversation with some customers in our area causing us to wait to long to get our check? Yes. But she did also bring us some extra pickles when she realized that Saucy Jr. liked them. Not only did she do this, but she waited until I had taken him to the bathroom to ask my wife is she could bring them just in case we were the type of parents who would deny him said snack. I thought it was extremely mannerly and it allowed me to get that second HopDevil. Another thing is that I realize that we are not the target audience for this particular spot. Chickie's and Pete's does not exist as a spot for two parents to take their child for a wonderful culinary experience. No. It is designed as a spot for two fellows to drop in, sit at the bar, watch the game on the gigantic televisions, check out the nubile young waitresses, and drink beers that make them take a piss once every 11.84 minutes. And there is no doubt about it, if my brother were to come out to my neck of the woods and we wanted to go out and accomplish the things that I describe above, the first place I would think to take him would be...Hooters. But the second would be Chickie's and Pete's.
Chickie's and Pete's Crab House and Sports Bar
675 Shannondell Drive
Audubon, PA 19403

Chickie's & Pete's on Urbanspoon


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

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