Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.
Price range: An average of $2.10 and up.
Atmosphere: Fast food (heavy on takeouts).
Credit cards: No.
Special facilities: Ample parking; highchairs; wheelchairs no problem.
We arrived at Chicken George on a recent Sunday afternoon just after a Redskins game ended, so we had a 10-minute wait in line. It was obvious that a lot of the takeout orders were going home to hungry sports fans.
With only one outlet open in the District, Chicken George has its hands full keeping up with demand; several items had sold out by the time we got there. But Chicken George's popularity among Washingtonians seems not to have affected things where they really count: in the chicken department. Chicken George is going to provide more than a little competition for other chicken shacks in a town that knows its chicken and eats a lot of it.
Spicy chicken is what makes Chicken George a standout -- that, and a distinct soul-food orientation, with offerings such as collard greens cooked with beef sausage (59 cents and up), rice (59 cents and up), corn on the cob (69 cents), and homemade biscuits (25 cents).
Management is currently debating whether to drop french fries from the menu and stick to rice, the idea being to create as distinct an image as possible so that Chicken George doesn't seem to be just another fast food parlor.
Chicken George's regular chicken is plump and succulent. The spicy chicken is just as well prepared, but with the bonus of a little bite to the seasonings. You may want to order a little of each.
Although by offering green vegetables, Chicken George overcomes one of our main objections to most fast food chains, our children turned up their noses at the collard greens and didn't eat much of the corn on the cob. But they were more enthusiastic about the rice, and had no trouble at all consuming an order of buttermilk biscuits, which really do taste homemade.
We were nearly as pleased with the chicken gumbo, a liquid echo of the spicy chicken. A little goes a long way, however, and four of us were happy sharing a single cupful ($1.25).
Both the sweet potato pie (70 cents) and apple pie (49 cents) were sold out on our visit, but we did try the birch beer, another item you don't find in most places (like red root beer, 52 cents and up).
As fast food chicken prices go, Chicken George is on the high side. Dinners, including rice and biscuit, sell for $2.10 for two pieces of chicken, $2.70 for three pieces, and $3.40 for four. Or you can order buckets of chicken -- nine pieces for $5.95 or 15 for $10.65. (Single-piece prices are 50 cents for a wing, 65 cents for a leg, 90 cents for a thigh, and $1.05 for a breast.)
Still, three of us ate plentifully for $15.31, tax included, with enough chicken left over to give two of us lunch the next day. (The spicy chicken tastes very good cold.)
The restaurant does a heavy takeout business, but there are plenty of tables, the place is clean, and the employes are friendly and helpful.
The word is that the chain plans to open nine more outlets in the Washington area. We suspect that Chicken George is going to sell a lot of chicken -- and we'll be there to help eat it.