Krispy Krunchy Chicken (https://krispykrunchy.com/) is a unique fried chicken chain with a distinct Cajun accent, founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1989. It is a unique chain because most of the locations are inside gas station convenience stores, but anyone who reads my blog knows you can often find great food in the most humble-looking and unlikely of places.
Take, for example, the Citgo station at 3025 East Colonial Drive, 32803, in Orlando, on the corner of East Colonial Drive and Maguire Road. This is on the edge of a couple of the best foodie neighborhoods in the city: the Milk District and Mills 50. I’ve been driving past this gas station for years, and only recently noticed a sign that it offered Krispy Krunchy Chicken inside. I had to try it, for the sake of journalism and a librarian’s desire to share information. I’m not sorry I did.
When you place your order, you ask for the chicken you want from under the heat lamps, and a nice lady will bag it up for you. It was all very fresh.
The sides are self-serve (you just grab them yourself). This sign lists prices for single pieces of chicken:
Here’s a close-up of that bottom shelf, which includes honey butter biscuits, boneless chicken tenders, corn dogs, and egg rolls. Sauces are 50 cents each (original, buffalo, honey mustard, ranch, tartar, sweet and sour, and barbecue), but as much as I love sauces and condiments, I was trying this chicken for the first time, so I didn’t want to overwhelm my palate or distract from the main mission with too many variables.
I ordered a two-piece meal ($7.99) with a leg, a thigh, a side (see below), and a honey butter biscuit, and had a little picnic in my car. Totally worth it. The chicken was juicy and the breading was thick and crunchy, but not as Cajun-spicy as I was hoping. Still, you can’t ask for much more than that, especially from a gas station convenience store setup! The biscuit was a real standout. Not in the same league as Se7en Bites, Orlando’s beloved Southern bakery and restaurant moments away, which is home of the best biscuits ever, but perfectly fine to accompany this chicken.
I couldn’t resist getting an order of fried chicken gizzards too. (I don’t remember how much this was.) Now I LOVE chicken livers (chopped liver is one of the foods of my people!) and hearts, but I didn’t remember ever trying gizzards before. They were REALLY chewy. That’s the most I can say about them.
The macaroni and cheese tasted a lot better than it looks here, flattened down by the lid on this styrofoam cup. But I don’t even think it looks bad. It looks and tastes like typical macaroni and cheese you would get as a side at any number of barbecue joints or Southern restaurants. So maybe not Orlando’s best (for that, check out Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, nearby in the Milk District, and also Se7en Bites again!), but very pleasing nonetheless.
Since this was my first visit to a Krispy Krunchy Chicken location, I got two additional sides while I was there. These red beans and rice were suitably smoky, salty, and creamy, but you just can’t beat Popeyes red beans and rice. That’s the quintessential version right there, the one that even chefs (like David Chang) cite as the best.
But my favorite side was the jambalaya, saucy rice with chunks of (andouille?) sausage and ham. I always like jambalaya, whether it’s from an old restaurant in the French Quarter or a box from Zatarain’s. This was somewhere in between, quality-wise, but closer to the French Quarter than the box. I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was.
Would I go back? Absolutely I would. As much as I generally like Popeyes for bone-in fried chicken, they can be hit-or-miss with both food quality and service. And this particular Krispy Krunchy Chicken gas station location is a lot more convenient for me than the always-excellent Theo’s Kitchen. This was solid fried chicken, but I think the thing I liked the most was the jambalaya. It was so tasty and hearty and full of meat, I could happily make it the centerpiece of a meal some other day, when I’m in the mood for such a thing again.