mrs. knott's famous chicken dinner...was it worth the 30 year plus wait?

Mrs. Knott's @ the Knott's Berry Farm Marketplace
8039 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90621

where do i begin...mrs. knott's famous chicken dinner is a meal that perhaps brings back many happy and fond memories for lots of you.  this was my very first experience here and after hearing so many friends say how great it was, i was finally going to try it.  why now after all these years?  well, my sister susan and her boyfriend, brian were in town and they wanted to go, so we went. 

now, i'm a big fried chicken fan!  i love it crispy and crunchy, and i didn't know what to expect, i was just waiting to dig into my chicken.  i think i get it from my dad, he LOVES fried chicken too, and one of his favorite places is popeye's!  which i must agree has a super crunchy texture which i enjoy.   anyhow...back to mrs. knott's.

when we went into the restaurant, we had just a brief wait and were seated fairly quickly.  after looking over the menu, susan and i decided to share the whole dinner, since we could get all the sides included, there was four pieces of chicken and it was cheaper than each of us getting the lunch portion. 

we quickly ordered our meal, chicken dinner with chicken noodle soup, house salad, corn and the boysenberry sherbert. 

first out...the buttermilk biscuits

they were ok for me...even with the butter and jam on it, my taste buds were underwhelmed.  it was a bit overcooked and the bottom was kind of hard.  i think it could use a touch of salt to enhance the buttermilk flavor.  i'm a hard core bread (carb) freak, and there are times when you eat bread or biscuits and they are so damn good, you can't stop...well, these didn't give me that same feeling.  i could take it or leave it.

chicken noodle soup...good for the soul?

can you see how thick and murky it looks?  it was a bit on the thicker side...needed a bit of salt and pepper.  really...this tasted like canned soup.  in fact, i've had better canned soup than this.  it was just mediocre chicken soup.  i don't think i need to write anymore about the soup...(so sad)

seriously, as i'm writing this blog, its a bit depressing because i know that so many people out there have been going here since they were kids and food is such an emotional thing.  we connect these happy memories with the food, so it always tastes good.  and i am not trying to ruin that, but from my culinary perspective, this food is really not that good.  but i will continue, because i want to give an honest critique and assessment of what i ate.  so i will be the trooper that i am.

next our house salad...

no words necessary, a basic salad.

our chicken finally arrives!!

i will say, the chicken looked lovely when it first arrived.  do you see the potatoes and the pool of white gravy in the middle of the potatoes?  ok...let's just start there.  it was tasteless and thick.  salt and pepper again were needed to help that poor little side.  in fact, when i first started eating the potatoes i didn't even know i was also eating the gravy because it had absolutely no flavor and it totally blended in with the potatoes!!   the scariest part about the potatoes was that, at the end of the meal, my nephew had a whole plate of it, untouched...and we packed it up for my dad, in case he might want to try it, it was one giant disc of hardened mashed potatoes and a congealed mess of white gravy.  wth?! 

at the top right of the photo was our side of corn.  tasted like canned corn, which i'm sure it was.  again, salt & pepper.  not much else to say.

finally the chicken, though it completely lacked any real crunch except for some parts of the edges, it was more of a soft fried coating.  i will give them this, the chicken itself was tender and moist...and funny enough, a little salty!  i guess the salty chicken is supposed to be balanced out with the bland potatoes and corn. 

honestly, i had to stop eating at a certain point...why?  you know how we all splurge and just go nuts when we eat certain things, even though we know it has lots of calories and fat?  well, in the case of this meal, i felt like i was wasting all my calories and fat on something that just wasn't worth wasting it on, so i couldn't do it anymore.

finally it was time for dessert!!!!  i was just praying it would be good!!

boysenberry sherbert.  this was my favorite thing of the whole meal.  the light flavor of the boysenberry was really light and refreshing.  though this is called a sherbert, it was extremly creamy and tasted more like ice cream to me.  this was the only bright moment in my entire meal.

overall, i have to say, i was beyond disappointed with this entire meal.  now i know that i have not been missing anything all these years.  for all of you who love this place, i am very sorry, but i still believe that your fond memories and love for this place are because of your childhood memories.  even brian, who had wanted to come to mrs. knott's for lunch, because he remembered eating it as a kid and he thought it was so great at the time, agreed with my assessment of the food.  it was pretty mediocre.  so, i know that for those of you who love this place, you will still go back and enjoy this meal...but for myself...i will never return.  ever.  i'd rather get popeye's tuesday special,  2 pieces for 99 cents. 

just a reminder, in my reviews, i will always give you my honest opinion based on the food and whether i believe it is worth the price i pay.  i wish i could be more positive about this last review, but i could not look at myself in the mirror if i pretended it was better than what it was. 

i will try and find THE best fried chicken out there and share that with you guys!  if any of you have any recommendations...please do tell!  i'd love to check it out and bring something super positve to you next time i talk about fried chicken.

until then, happy eating to you all!


  1. Donahoos

  2. Another of my fav...Pioneer Chicken. Still a couple indepently owned restaurants out there. Here is the nearest ones...,

    Here are some other places I have not tried yet., but read some good things.,,

    Churches and Lousianna are okay.

  3. Sorry, one more place I go to get my chicken fix in OC. It's broasted chicken. Hole in the wall place that is frequented by locals (like a local pub), great chicken.

  4. thank you dave! i will check these different ones out!

    i have heard mixed reviews on donahoos. you are welcome to join me on a fried chicken fest!


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