Omnivore - Get your gizzards at Harold's

Chicago exports its fried chicken to the South


My Friday-night dining pals and I visited Harold's Chicken & Ice Bar a couple of weeks back. The restaurant, in a narrow space on Edgewood, opened earlier this summer next to Noni's.

The restaurant is part of a famously popular Chicago chain. Here, like there, the menu is all about fried food — chicken and fish. I thought it was kind of ballsy to come from Chicago to fry chicken. What could the Windy City teach us about our favorite dish? Chicago is not our kind of town chicken-wise.

But the food actually turned out to be quite good. True, the relentless frying was a bit much. I want my fried chicken with some fresh vegetables. There was utterly no relief. But there was something on the menu that made me forgive all: gizzards. Why do I have to depend on Chicago cooking for the fried gizzards I loved as a kid and almost never find on menus here?

I ordered a combo dish, so I also got wings with the gizzards. These were wings from real big chickens, heavily breaded but crispy down to the flavorful meat. To my taste, the breading itself needed a shot of hot sauce or some heavier pepper. The gizzards were mainly about texture and should have a lighter coating in my opinion. But I'm just glad to know they are there.

Most at the table also liked the food, including the fried perch. There were a few complaints about salt and one that the portions were small, which amazed me. Seating really is limited, so you can expect a wait on popular nights like Friday. Our service was mainly good.

I have no idea, by the way, why this is called an ice bar.