(ran NP edition)
I must admit, I was leery of the gizzards.
But MaccaBee's restaurant in North Greenwood works magic with a part of the chicken I normally toss in the trash. Breaded and fried, the nuggets weren't overdone and lived up to the discriminating standards of my co-workers, many of whom grew up in the South.
"You're eating with gizzard connoisseurs here," said reporter Wilma Norton.
The gizzards were only one part of a fantastic _ and economical _ lunch I shared with six co-workers from the Greenwood Avenue restaurant. We also feasted on fried okra, fried chicken and fried onion rings.
You getting the picture here: It was every cardiologist's nightmare, but we loved it.
The okra wasn't slimy, and the chicken was so tender that you could see droplets of moisture when you peeled back the golden brown skin.
The secret to the non-greasy friend chicken, says owner MacArthur Boykins, is marinating the chicken before it's fried in freshly cleaned oil that is a constant 325 degrees.
Boykins, who grew up in North Greenwood, opened the restaurant last year after retiring from GTE.
Besides the lunch fare we sampled, the restaurant serves a full range of dinners, from blue crabs to chitterlings and collard greens to spaghetti. It also offers an array of seafood, as well as pork chops, ham and stewed beef.
"Everything is cooked to order," Boykins said.
Lunch is served mainly at the restaurant's takeout window, although seating is available. Special dinner menus are available in the dining room Thursday through Sunday.
The restaurant also has a full service bar and weekend entertainment, including bands and disc jockeys.
But back to lunch for a moment.
When one of my lunch mates ordered 10 wings, he expected to get the kind that are served slathered in sauce. Instead, he got a paper basket full of some of the biggest fried chicken wings (sauce on the side) I have ever seen.
"I like them," he pronounced, cleaning the bones of their meat.
The chicken sandwich was a hit, too. It was a fried chicken breast (bone and all) served between two pieces of white bread and topped off with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.
When ordering takeout, packaging is key.
Ours came securely wrapped in paper trays and bags that were stacked neatly into plastic sacks. We got plenty of ketchup and small containers of barbecue sauce to meet our needs.
Our lunch came with only a few disappointments. The day we ordered, MaccaBee's was out of pork tenderloin and baked beans. We also didn't get any utensils with our lunch. That didn't matter much, because most of the fare was finger food.
I also had called in our lunch for pickup, but we still had to wait about 10 minutes when we got there. They were finishing up the country smoked sausage sandwich that came topped with grilled onions.
All in all, they were minor inconveniences when compared to the good food we got.
1045 N Greenwood Ave., Clearwater
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight every day
Consumers: Six adults
What we got: Five pieces of fried chicken, 2 orders of okra, country smoked sausage sandwich, chicken sandwich, potato salad, 2 orders of gizzards, onion rings and 10 wings
What it cost: $25.04
Time it took: I called our order in about 11 a.m. and said we would be there about noon. When we got there, we waited another 10 minutes
Pay with: Cash or check with proper ID