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Dixie Lee: the other fried chicken place

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OGDENSBURG — Ever been to a Dixie Lee Fried Chicken?

There aren’t too many of them around. It’s a relatively small chain (70 outlets compared to KFC’s 36,000 worldwide) based in Canada with just a few restaurants on this side of the border.

There’s a Dixie Lee in Ogdensburg, and it’s been there for about 30 years, since shortly after the chain began franchising chicken outlets in the late ’70s.

The State Street location is under new management/ownership. The eatery has been remodeled, every inch of it cleaned and spiffed up. The place smelled like Mr. Clean rather than chicken grease.

It’s more than just a takeout joint. There are two small dining rooms. In one, plastic table-and-chair “booths” line the windows facing the parking lot; the other is a homier room with traditional tables and chairs.

If you’re not a regular, it takes a few minutes to digest the menu, a series of signs lining the walls behind the counter. Chicken wings. Chicken sandwiches. Chicken wraps. Chicken and biscuits. Chicken dinners.

And lots of sides. French fries. Cole slaw. Potato salad. Mac and cheese. Baked beans. Rice pilaf. Macaroni salad.

If you’re a fried food fanatic, they’ve got breaded mushrooms, chicken nuggets, onion rings, breaded cauliflower and cheese sticks.

There’s seafood, too — fish filet sandwich, fish and chips, deep-fried shrimp and deep-fried clams — and even a kids’ menu.

Everything starts with the counter person, who takes your order, hands it through a small window to the cook in the kitchen and, when your food is ready, delivers it to your table.

We got a three-piece lunch deal — a small breast, a wing and a leg coated in a tasty breading and deep-fried till crispy, two sides (mac and cheese and cole slaw), a dinner roll and a large soda, all for $4.95.

The chicken was crispy, but not as juicy as we might have liked. The coleslaw was very good but the orange-colored mac and cheese was pretty bad. It almost tasted a little “off.”

We brought that to the counterman’s attention, but he assured us the mac and cheese was made fresh that morning. He did admit they were still toying with the recipe and the problem might be the type of canned cheese they were using.

Chicken and biscuits ($5.19) were as good as you’d get at any fire department fundraiser. There was a decent amount of white meat in a slightly salty but flavorful gravy. The biscuits weren’t the best, but they were covered with the gravy, so who cared? Two scoops of instant mashed potatoes were some of the best we’ve had in a while.

Caesar salad with grilled chicken ($5.50) was a pleasant surprise. Crisp, fresh romaine was tossed with shredded Parmesan cheese and boxed croutons. Two small, plastic containers of dressing came on the side. The dressing was quite adequate, although looked and tasted a bit like Parmesan peppercorn.

The grilled chicken on top was good, cut into small pieces for easy eating with the plastic fork provided, and had a definite grilled taste.

We took small containers of their sides to try at home (99 cents each for 4 ounces.) All appeared to be of the commercial variety.

Potato salad was yellow and mustardy, macaroni salad had the added bonus of chicken chunks, baked beans were standard (I kicked mine up with some ketchup) and the cole slaw, the same as we got with the lunch deal, was the best of all.

Lunch for two (much of the chicken and biscuits went home with us) plus the to-go sides cost $23.27.

We didn’t get a chance to try their desserts, Oreo or Reese’s pies ($2.25 a slice) or cookies ($1.69).

All in all, not a bad experience, except maybe for the mac and cheese that they admit is a work in progress.

You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: wsiebel@wdt.net.



Dixie Lee Fried Chicken

432 State St.

Ogdensburg, N.Y.

393-1231



One of Ogdensburg’s oldest fast-food chain restaurants is under new management/ownership.



HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week except on Friday, when they stay open until 10 p.m.

Try the chicken and biscuits and their cole slaw. The grilled chicken Caesar salad is very nice, too. You may want to avoid the mac and cheese.

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