Football season finally begins for me. My first game of the season is back in Illinois, so I hit the road again to make the trip home. Once again, it was after lunch when I was going through Kalamazoo and I was getting hungry. I held out until Paw Paw though because there was a chicken shack I ate at last year that had relocated and I was curious to see how things changed.
My first encounter with the Chicken Coop was in the spring of 2008 not long after J and I moved to Michigan. I was heading back to Champaign for work and stopped to get gas. I noticed the restaurant and got chicken for the road. Similar situation on this trip except the location I stopped at last time is now a Walgreens.
I didn’t really know where the new location was but commentors had told me it just moved around the corner. The old location was easy to see from the Interstate. There was a large sign and as soon as you got off, you ran into the restaurant. The new one is a little harder to find.
As I was driving down Kalamazoo Street, I looked to the west when I got to the Walgreens. As I was driving through the intersection, I happened to see the building. It’s much harder to find than the old location and if you don’t know it’s there, it could be real easy to miss.
The new location of the Chicken Coop in Paw Paw is on East Fadel Road a block west of Kalamazoo Street. The building is a small white and blue structure that looks like a cookie cutter fast food building.
I pulled in around 2:00 on a Thursday afternoon. There were only a couple cars in the parking lot and if it wasn’t for the “open” sign in the window, I would have wondered if I was even going to get chicken.
The inside of this building is much, much nicer, but also a little smaller. The old building’s dining room was a little bit of a turn off. This place is clean and comfortable. There are a handful of tables and a few booths taking up less than half of the building.
The order counter is sort of hidden when you walk in. There’s a little hallway leading to the bathrooms and then a wall. When you come around the corner, you enter a big open space that eventually becomes a pretty large kitchen.
I went to the counter and waited a few minutes for a guy to come out of the back and take my order. Just like last time, I got the popcorn chicken basket and a pop. The bill was a little over five bucks and I waited about five minutes. I was handed a styrofoam cup which I filled up with Sprite while I was waiting.
When the order was ready, a different guy brought it out of the kitchen and handed it to me.
I jumped back in the truck and headed west on I-94. I got the popcorn chicken because I knew it was something that would be easy to eat while driving.
The chicken wasn’t quite as big as I remembered, but it’s still bigger than what I think of when I think popcorn chicken. There was six pieces of chicken and a handful of restaurant fries. I had polished off the whole thing by the time I reached the next exit on the Interstate.
There are several Chicken Coop locations in the area including another one right off the Interstate in Watervliet which I have been tempted to stop at before. They must be pretty popular in Southwest Michigan because they didn’t even let Walgreens run them out of business. The move was good and bad for them. They got a much better building out of the day, but I have a feeling they don’t get as much traffic off the highway. That’s too bad because for a local chicken place, they do a pretty good job.