I have a confession.
Despite the fact that I have been a Washington County resident for more than 12 years, I had no idea that the first president of the United States was our namesake.
I know, I know. No excuses. I just never made the connection. Thanks to Washington Chicken at South Pointe Shopping Center in Hagerstown, I am now well-informed.
The “fast, casual chicken restaurant” makes it a priority to educate chicken seekers about ol’ George. A mural depicting Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware is prominently displayed in the dining area. Washington and his men are in chicken form, of course.
My lunch date, Mama Mia, and I stood at the counter scanning our options. Obviously, most involved some sort of poultry.
The eatery offered the bird in a nice variety of options: soup, wings, grilled, fried, on salads, in wraps and tenders for the kids.
I asked the cashier what was good, and without hesitation, he recommended the toasted jalapeño corn-bread sandwich. That sounded kind of fabulous to me.
Mama Mia ordered a two-piece white-meat chicken meal and we tacked on an order of fried pickles. The prices were affordable, but because almost everything is sold a la carte, the bill can add up fast.
We grabbed our drinks and a table in the small dining room/waiting area.
While it is obvious that Washington Chicken is suited more for carryout, we were comfortable at our table. The lunch rush was in full swing, but co-owner Sarah still took the time to visit our table and warmly welcome us.
While we waited, Washington-related trivia kept us busy. Did you know that George Washington was known as an energetic and excellent dancer?
Amid the chatter of customers and the clatter of dishes, I heard the chef singing in a rich baritone as he worked. You’ve gotta love a singing chef.
About 15 minutes after we placed our order, the food was delivered — not a bad time for fresh chicken. I went right for the fried pickle spears. They were incredible and worth burning my mouth over. The medium-sized spears were coated in a fluffy layer of fried goodness. They came with sauce, but I didn’t think they needed any. These pickles alone are worth the trip.
My sandwich boasted a substantial grilled chicken breast with romaine, tomato, onion and pepper-jack cheese between two hunks of toasted jalapeño cornbread with mayo on the side. The tomato was a bit anemic, but who can find a good tomato this time of year?
Otherwise, everything looked — and more importantly, tasted — perfect. The chicken was tender and juicy. The bread was dense and spicy. I almost finished it, but I had to leave room for more fried pickles.
Mama Mia was kind enough to let me sample a piece of her Southern buttermilk-fried chicken. The batter was darker than most. It was definitely in a class of its own. Seasoned with a house blend of spices, the flavor had a slight kick that permeated the juicy meat all the way to the bone.
If George Washington was alive and well today, I can guarantee you he would be a regular at Washington Chicken. Without a doubt, it does our county and its namesake proud.
Ally Fredo is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.