Tropical Picken Chicken – Wake Forest, NC

Tropical Picken Chicken
2010 S. Main St.; Suite 406
Wake Forest, NC 27587

Tucked away in what is basically an office park in Wake Forest, the Picken Chicken, featuring Cuban and Dominican home cooking, proved to be a nice surprise the SECOND time I ate there. The first time I ventured in alone and rushed myself through the menu and settled on a chicken sandwich with a side of french fries. Pretty standard, right? That’s exactly why I had no business ordering it from this Latin restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, it was good (huge breast and the fries were awesome). But as I ate it, I had more time to look over the menu and realize what I had just passed up.

Despite the hole-in-the-wall location, the menu and small dining room made it seem like a chain quick service restaurant, which is far from the case. The graphics on the menu (and their Web site) are so clean and professionally done it seems corporate. However, this is the one and only location and it has been open since April 2009.

For my second trip, I knew how to approach the restaurant–like a Latin BBQ joint, or dare I say even a KFC or Boston Market (no disrespect intended for Picken Chicken). Basically, choose your meat, two sides and chances are you’ll go home satisfied. Maybe even with a takeout box.

The grilled chicken that is the restaurant’s namesake is excellent. You can get anywhere from a quarter-chicken up to several whole birds to take home, or dine in family style. The Roast Pork might even outshine the bird as long as you get past the fact “it ain’t North Carolina BBQ.” With quite a few sides to choose from, I recommend going with one familiar (the mac and cheese is ok and salad, fries and mashed potatoes, etc. are options) and one unfamiliar side. If you like fried bananas or sweet potatoes, you’ll like their sweet plantains. I didn’t care for the mashed yuca with onion sauce, but the traditional Caribbean yellow rice with green peas was a solid choice.

I saw a handful of Latin patrons making repeat visits–always a good sign of authenticity and excellent grub. The gentleman who took my order was more than happy to walk us through the menu, so I recommend using this resource on your first visit or at least checking out the menu on their Web site. Again, the atmosphere throws you off a bit–don’t expect your food as soon as you order like a fast food restaurant. But when it does, you should be pleasantly surprised. And next time you’re in Wake Forest think about picking up a box of grocery store or fast food chain chicken for friends or family, think about giving these folks a call and “picken” up some of theirs instead.

Read the artcile from Greg Cox, restaurant critic at The N&O

Explore posts in the same categories: "Dive" Restaurants

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One Comment on “Tropical Picken Chicken – Wake Forest, NC”

  1. Jolie Says:

    I have to say, i do love my Southern BBQ but this place had some fantastic slow cooked pork. The portions were huge so I was happy to bring some to work the next day. I will for sure be going back again!

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