What a great idea for a chicken restaurant. Just the other night, I was craving chicken and considered going to Popeye’s. Knowing I was kind of bad on my diet over the weekend, I didn’t want to splurge on fried chicken. This afternoon, J asked me to run out to Horrocks to get some more of them delicious honey crisp apples. She went to work a little early, so I just waited to eat lunch until after she was gone. I made my stops at Wal-Mart and Horrocks then got thinking about lunch. When I was working this weekend, one of the guys I worked with had said something about YaYa’s near Frandor. For some reason, I remembered there was one near the Lansing Mall, so that’s where I went for lunch.
YaYa’s is a chain of 17 restaurants with locations in Michigan and Florida. The first restaurant was opened in Seminole, FL in 1985, but the first franchise location was opened in Flint, MI in 1988. There are two locations here in Lansing and both are on Saginaw Highway. There’s this one by the mall and the other is farther down Saginaw near US 127. This particular YaYa’s is located in a shopping plaza in a very commercialized area of Saginaw Highway.
It was a little after two when I went looking for lunch. There were no cars parked in front and the inside was empty. The store is not very big. It’s longer than it is wide and there are a handful of tables in the space to sit and eat. The counter is located at the far end of the space. The menu board is behind the counter above the grills where the whole chickens are butterflied and grilled.
I mentioned earlier this was a great idea for a chicken restaurant. I say that because the way the chicken is cooked. No grease. No batter. No oil. There are signs around the restaurant bragging about that point. “Fewer calories. Less Fat. Less Cholesterol.” If you’ve never had grilled chicken, you’re really missing out on something. When I cook chicken at home, I do that a lot. I’ll fire up the grill and throw whole chicken or bone in pieces on and let it cook over an open flame. It actually tastes better than deep fried chicken and it’s much better for you.
I didn’t want a whole lot to eat or spend a ton of money. The menu consists of your typical chicken meals, sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides. There’s an option for a couple value meals. I ordered the first value meal which is one wing, one leg, and one side. It really is a value at only $4.02. For the side, I got the garden salad.
The guy who took my order also prepared the to-go box for me. He pulled a whole chicken off the grill behind him and cut the two pieces off with a big meat cleaver. The pieces weren’t very big, but you can’t really expect much for $4. I grabbed the bag and headed back to my truck to get home and eat.
The smells were amazing. It was really hard not to reach in back and grab the chicken on the way home. I love the smell of grilled food and YaYa’s had that smell. When I finally got home, I threw the groceries on the table and dug in. Like I said, the chicken pieces were pretty small, but they had a lot of meat.
The chicken was delicious. It was exactly what I was hoping for. I’m going to be really tempted to go back sometime and get a breast or some bigger pieces. YaYa’s is such a great concept, I’m surprised it’s not taking off. Everyone loves chicken, but there are so many problems with traditional fried chicken when it comes to dieting. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I first saw the signs for YaYa’s when we moved here, but all my expectations were shattered. They satisfy the chicken craving without the grease and breading.