I probably should be concerned about my complete willingness to go drive over 700 miles on a weekend to get Fried Chicken, but I'm not. The consumption of some tasty bird may have been the official destination, but the other purpose of the trip was a change of scenery. Sometimes I just need to go and take in something different. Different walls, different roads, different air.
So with the trusty GPS as a guide, my husband and I headed south with the ultimate destination of Lorman, Mississippi. (See Lorman on a map here.) It's a tiny town and about the only standing building is The Old Country Store. It's questionable how it's still standing; it could be a testament to the old adage "they don't make 'em like the used to." Quickly assessing the building's ramshackle exterior, I know it was not a place I'd ordinarily stop but based on good word (Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt) it's contents would prove well worth the risk. Tempting me with a promise of the best fried chicken ever was enough enticement to make the drive and go for it.
As soon as we walked in the door, owner Arthur Davis, or "Mr. D" as he's known there, greeted us with a friendly reminder to leave our diets on the nail by the door. After driving over 300 miles to get fried chicken, any thoughts I might have had of a so-called diet were fading, and the heavenly smells from the kitchen were happily stomping those remaining thoughts to tiny bits. Walking through the restaurant, which is proudly announces its heritage as an old country store by the wooden floors, the shelves to the ceiling and the ladders on casters and guide rails.
A simple buffet of mac & cheese, greens, peas, dirty rice, cornbread muffins and of course, the chicken awaits the large open room of tables and hungry diners. One bite confirmed that every single mile of the drive was worth it because this really was the best fried chicken anywhere. The secret? Mr. D cooks the chicken and doesn't use chicken that has been frozen. I wouldn't be surprised if some of what was served at lunch was happily clucking and pecking just a few hours prior to meeting my plate. There wasn't a bad item on the buffet, but the chicken was outstanding. The dirty rice reassured me that the stuff Popeye's scoops into a styrofoam cup and call by the same name doesn't begin to compare to the real deal. At this point, I'm not so sure about that stuff Popeye's sells, but I've promised myself I will from here forward only consume it under the most dire of circumstances.
The drive to Lorman was a bit further than we wanted to make as a day trip, so we chose to make a weekend of it and stay in Greenwood, with a visit to Vicksburg as well. The weather was flawless and the change of surroundings was a welcome breath of fresh air. The people in the area exude southern hospitality. Any town that wants to attract visitors could learn from the relaxed and generous nature of the people in the small towns along the Great River Road in Mississippi.
More to come about this trip to Mississippi...