I love my Kroger store and I have many times been surprised by the quality of their store brand products. One of the best parts about shopping there is the wonderful smells coming from the deli and bakery area. Seriously, you walk through the sliding doors and immediately smell chicken, fresh baked bread, and cake. Kind of a perfect dinner. While I have tried every variety of their rotisserie chicken (savory, garlic, lemon pepper, etc) and a couple of types of hot wing, the fried chicken has proven to be elusive. For starters there is rarely any fried chicken in the warmers near the front of the store. As I mentioned before, you smell all of this goodness as you are walking in and as an impulse buyer my first impulse is to find the nearest chicken and put it in my cart. When BzzAgent selected me to try the Deli Fried Chicken from The Kroger Co. Family of Stores FOR FREE I finally had the motivation I needed to put in the effort for the fried chicken.
It turns out I may have chosen a bad day for it. It was Sunday, 6pm, and Father's Day. When I arrived in the deli I noticed immediately that there were no sides. That's right, the deli didn't have pasta salad, baked beans, or even potato salad; NO POTATO SALAD. I almost gave up right then but there wasn't any other food in my house and the child was expecting to eat at 6:30 so cooking was out of the question. I ended up having to wait a few minutes to be served, even though there wasn't a line because the gentleman (the polite part of me says to call him that, but really he was a dude, probably 17, wearing a Metallica t-shirt under his apron) was trying to make more chickens. He was nice enough, got my chicken for me, and then I went to the front to check out.
I had left the chicken as last on my shopping list but I still needed to check out and the lines were pretty long. I don't live far from the store, maybe 3 minutes, 5 tops, but still by the time I got to my car, loaded it up, got home, unloaded the car, put away the cold items, and got plates out for dinner the chicken was luke warm. We all remarked on how juicy and flavorful the actual chicken was but in my husband's words "KFC original recipe has nothing to worry about." The next day I reheated the leftover piece and shared it with the toddler for lunch. Once again I was impressed with how moist and flavorful the actual chicken was, even if the fried skin was just okay.
I think that when it comes to fried chicken the grocery store aspect of it really hinders the overall quality. When I get a rotisseries chicken it seems to keep better through checking out and driving home whereas the fried deliciousness of the deli chicken just couldn't hang with the extra time spent in the plastic container. The skin got soggy and seemed to lose some flavor and the lukewarm temp wasn't very appetizing. The truth is that I am not likely going to go to the trouble of driving to the grocery store and getting out of my car to A) just get fried chicken or B) without buying other items, like milk, especially knowing that I can get fried chicken from a drive through in my yoga pants. Maybe what Kroger really needs is to put the deli next to the pharmacy so they can share a drive-thru (okay no, gross, that is actually a terrible idea)!
Final verdict: Not better than fast food but definitely cheaper and probably worth it if you are in a time crunch and already at the store (although I would probably chose to pick up a rotisserie chicken).
On a final note, this post would not have been possible without BzzAgent or The Kroger Co. Family of Stores which provide tons of meal solutions for the summer. From baked and rotisserie chicken to trays of hot and juicy tenders and wings, your deli department can cover everything from a backyard bash to tonight’s dinner. And with the added convenience of finding refreshing Coca-Cola products right by the Deli counter in some stores, dinner just got way easier.