Another great installment from Andria. Mmmm...chicken!
Ed. Note: As of June 2009, Gus's is no longer offering a kids' eat free day.
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
2965 N Germantown Rd
Bartlett, TN 38133
Getting me to the Germantown Gus's Fried Chicken is always a tricky maneuver. I have to be hungry enough to bend my usually rigid position on our budget, yet not so hungry that I can't fathom the idea of a half-hour drive plus 20 minutes waiting for food. I also have to be suffering from a brief bout of amnesia that prevents me from remembering that I've never really, really liked any meal I've had there.
Lucky for the rest of the family, last Friday was one of those days. We loaded up the supplies and headed east and arrived just in time to nab one of the last available tables. Little did we know that Friday and Saturday nights are when Gus's offers All You Can Eat chicken and catfish for $9.95. The restaurant was crowded and smoky (the good kind), giving it quite a bit more ambiance than it usually has. It is, after all, a strip mall restaurant, and its wannabe-country decor is a pale imitation of the grittier (although not that much older) Gus's downtown.
After a quick perusal of the succinct menu, we placed an order for the chicken/catfish meal (The Admiral), a 3-piece dark meat meal with fries and beans (me) and the child's hot dog with macaroni and cheese (M, age 3). One of the biggest things that draws us to Gus's is the free kid's meal. Any kid under 12 eats free when accompanied by a paying adult. All day, any day. And it's a solid meal, too - choice of entree (hot dog, corn dog, maybe a burger or really good chicken tenders), one side (fries, mac and cheese, beans, fried okra, etc.), a drink and an ice cream cup that all of the waitresses know not to bring or even mention until after the main dish has been eaten.
After about 15 minutes, the obligatory trip to the bathroom (one seater, fairly clean, no changing table) and some distracted viewing of the CNN feed being shown on all three flat screen TVs, our food arrived. For the first time, I noticed that "mild" was an option for the chicken, and boy am I glad I did. The spicy chicken has always been a bit too overpowering for my delicate Midwestern palate. My mild drumstick and two thighs (I think?), however, were just right. The Admiral dug into the first serving of his endless dinner, and M looked at her plate for about 12 seconds before deciding she didn't want anything on it. I think the fact that the hot dog was split in two on one side really threw her off. She didn't even want to
lick the mustard off of it.
We ate in relative peace for a few blissful moments, but then M's hunger and frustration caught up with her. She began bouncing from one seat to the next and eventually settled down next to me. Something about seeing someone contentedly eating a meal must have flipped a switch in her head and she suddenly hauled off and smacked me. Time Out #1. I took her outside and tried to talk her down, and when she seemed to have calmed a bit, we went back inside. Two high-pitched, full-volume screams later and it was Time Out #2, which is generally our signal to pack up and leave regardless of meal status but The Admiral did squeeze in one more plate full of fish and chicken before we hightailed it out of there (sans M's free ice cream).
As we left, the hostess said, "Bye bye, Miss M!" like she always does, once again affirming the kid-friendly feel of the suburban Gus's. Even when your monkeys are acting their worst, the staff still acts like they're part of the family.