the 2008 ypsilanti fried chicken showdown: installment 5

OK, here, at long last, is the end of the fried chicken series. This installment finds our deep fried duo at Biggie’s.

Biggie’s Fine Foods

16 North Washington

BA: I’d never eaten at Biggie’s before, and on our way there from Haab’s, I thought to myself, “self, if anybody had collard greens, they’d get a five for sides instantly.” Lo and behold, collard greens! Mmm-mm! And cornbread — you totally trumped the biscuits! Yeah!!! Aw, outta mashed potatoes though. Oh well, normally they’ve got them so I won’t count it against them.

OEC: Collards, corn, slow cooked green beans, spaghetti, slaw, mashed and mac and cheese available as sides. I could live well on Biggies sides alone.

BA: I balked when OEC ordered the mac ‘n’ cheese, but never again. I never thought I could like mac ‘n’ cheese that much. Great stuff!

OEC: Like pudding. Borderline addictive. Biggie’s also a very full line of food, ribs, cheesy wheezy and on and on … all great stuff.

BA: The chicken’s initial rush of spiciness made me utter some delighted sound or another that made people laugh…

OEC: So did the mac ‘n’ cheese, you were moaning aloud with delight…

BA: But I’m sad to say, the following flood of super-saltiness from the chicken was a little unpleasant to me. And I put salt on everything. I mean, that was some salty chicken. Maybe if I didn’t normally put salt on everything, it wouldn’t have overloaded my body’s salt tolerance, but I gotsta calls it likes I tastes it. It made me sad though, because otherwise it tasted so good!

OEC: I think it was a little saltier than usual that day, but I still lapped it up. But I do like a bunch of salt and spices on my bird. Granny used to fry her chicken in the drippings from southern salt ham and hers is still the standard for me.

BA: It also bears noting that the owner, Victor Swanson, was really friendly and neighborly, which counts for a whole lot. I believe I can probably ask him to go easy on the salt next time and he’d do it with a smile and remember my name. Only one way to find out.

OEC: I was walking across Michigan one morning after getting Biggie’s carryout the night before, Victor rolled down his window and shouted out to ask how everything was. It was great, I replied. Real pride of ownership and great customer service. Good folk.

Special notes: Casual dine-in and carryout. Cash or credit. Parking is limited, your best bet is the lot behind Washington accessed from Huron River Drive (enter through the back). Biggie’s staffing levels and turn-around time vary based on daily demands, but you can call in your order ahead of time at 484-3434.

And here’s how the sum the whole experience up.

The Fav Flav

It was all good. But, for our tastes, one chicken shack got us both by the gizzard:

OEC: If I want to sit in a fancy place and have beer, I’ll go to Haab’s and be very contented. But, my hands down favorite for Ypsi fried chicken and sides is Biggie’s.

BA: Also Biggie’s. In short, they had everything I like, they did them better than I’d had them before, and the owner is cool. Diggin’ Biggie’s.

OEC: Two out of two readers recommend you get you some Biggie’s.

I’d like to thank Ol’ E Cross and Brackache for all of their hard work. It’s not everyone that would knock a few weeks off their life expectancy for the good of their community… Now, we just have to decide what mission to send them out on next.

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  1. The Exterminator
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Yeah yeah… who paid?

  2. Posted August 23, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    End? You guys have barely begun.

  3. UBU
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Why not have them force feed Iggy dog food? What brand does Iggy like best?

  4. Brackache
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    UBU, it’s gotta be gravy train, but I can tell you from experience it doesn’t taste as good as it looks.

    Hey don’t judge, somebody had to find out.

  5. KP
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Woot! Biggies! Biggies is the bomb. The mac-n-cheese is amazing. It’s easily as good as the stuff I make at home, and I’m not talking about the stuff from the box. I’m also a big fan of cheese steaks and I think theirs is great. Better than others I’ve tasted in town. I wish I would have eaten at Biggies years ago when I first moved to Ypsi instead of just trying it a few months ago. I missed out on so many opportunities to savor their scrumptious vittles. I want everyone to eat at Biggies so they stay in business a long long time and I can continue to gorge myself on their delicious food.

  6. Posted August 23, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m about to order from them right now.

  7. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Enjoy Cousin. Be sure to add your review. I should also note for other readers that may get watering mouths after reading this, Biggie’s is closed on Sunday’s.

    Also, from what I gather, Biggie’s is a homegrown talent. The owner went to Ypsi High and EMU College of Business before opening the place.

    And, Edweird, don’t worry, Sisyphus will cease rolling his rock before I’ll stop eating fried chicken.

  8. Posted August 23, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Well that was good. You’re right, it was a bit salty, and we got served with wonder bread, so that was kinda weird. But, man, that chicken was hot, moist, and greasy, and the sides were awesome – mac and cheese and coleslaw. It was one of those meals where the portion was just big enough to have my wife give me most of her third piece, even though I could have been full after I finished my meal.

    Overall it was just a real enjoyable experience, from ordering it to thowing away the sweet red white and blue box with American flags that said “Pride in America.”

    So I called them up and kinda asked what they had cause we couldn’t find menus online and the guy who answered the phone said, “we got whatever you need, brother.” Then they said it would be 15 minutes, and it was ready by then. My wife picked it up and she said the owner was super friendly and nice to her, and told her to make sure we came back again.

    Perfect meal to be had after a few pre-dinner beers. Mmmm-mmmm! Thanks again for a great feature here on this ever-entertaining site. The more I read, the more I shorten my life expectancy, but it just might be worth it!

    Cheers OEC and B-ache!

  9. j7uy5
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    In light of the fact that Ypsi is the birthplace of pizza delivery, sooner or later you’re going to have to review delivery pizza. Of course Domino’s will be the worst. The inventor does not alway make the best. Just look at the Chevy Vega next to the Toyota Prius. There’s a lesson there, somewhere.

  10. soundman
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    it’s a sad state of affairs when people start thinking Biggie’s is good.

  11. Brackache
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    No pizza. Somebody else do it.

  12. Posted August 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Best delivery pizza? I’ve tried them all, and it’s Benitos.

  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm | Permalink


    Not sure of your criteria/definitions but mine are:

    food: something I can digest.

    good: something I like to ingest.

    By my measure, Biggie’s is damn good food as were all the places we’ve tried thus far. It’s all good.

  14. Posted August 25, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I was disappointed to see no comment about either Hawkins Place or Nathan Family Soul Food. Both serve some good chicken, and they have the sides to go with it…greens, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, cornbread, etc.

  15. Brackache
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    While OEC and I are both apparently viewed as gods, and therefore should be saddled with the burden of everyone’s idea of how we aughtta do things in hindsight, on our own initiative, and at our own expense, we are also whimsical and capricious, doing whatever the hell we want. Don’t make me start chucking lightning bolts at you whiners.

    We left plenty of room for other chicken joint reviews in the future on purpose.

  16. js
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Benitos is the best? Bah! The only decent pizza I’ve had in Ypsi has been at Aubrey’s (and I was probably too drunk to know better). Well, and the pita pizza at Sidetrack. But Ypsi is a pizza wasteland, just like most of Michigan.

  17. Dragon
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Is that a Frnch accent I detect?

  18. Piza Man
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Silvio’s pizza in Ann Arbor is the organic bomb.

  19. Posted August 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    js, possibly Aubrees is better, but only if you eat it there and get a specialty (and if you’re drunk). Next time you come visit Ypsi, I’m buying your drunk ass some deep dish Benitos and then we’ll see which is better!

    Sorry, Aubrees, you know I love you. I’m sure I’ll come running back to you eventually.

  20. freeman
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ll have to dig in to some Biggie’s soon. Thanks for the work, guys!

    Aubree’s was my choice for pizza until Uncle D’s (NYPD) arrived recently. NYPD is the only place that makes a BBQ chicken pizza the way I like it – with the BBQ sauce brushed on the chicken instead of supplanting pizza sauce.

  21. Robert
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again OEC and Brackache. I’m going to have to check out Biggie’s soon.

  22. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    French Quarter, Nathan’s, Hawkin’s, maybe Wolverine? There’s a place called Nu Wave just opened on Mich Ave on the outskirts of town … I’d love to do them all. What else are we missing? Just give us a little time to digest.

    And, a heartfelt thanks to Mark, for making our humble chicken eating dreams come true. BA and I have now officially accomplished more with our respective lives than our high school guidance counselors could’ve dreamed. (Mark, If you want us to take our digestive obsessive elsewhere for round two and start our own blog … just say git.)

    And, eating all the pizza in town is a little overwhelming, but I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing a pizza review open thread. Next time Mark wants a well-deserved night off. Maybe after the convention.

  23. Robert
    Posted August 30, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m sold! After watching McCain’s scheduled senior moment in Dayton yesterday, I think it’s Miller Time. I’m gonna go get drunk and eat fried chicken at Biggies.

  24. kjc
    Posted March 27, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    This was such a good post. Can’t you send these two out again?

  25. Posted March 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    It was kind of like the show Cheers. Once they started having sex, the chemistry was gone.

  26. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Life’s pretty depressing like that.

    Unfortunately, the only thing OEC and I were any good at is eating fried chicken. We have the solemn pride of knowing that, when future archaeologists dig up Mark’s blog, they’ll know exactly what our culture’s views of local fried chicken joints were in this time period in history.

    I nominate two other people to do a Chinese food edition.

  27. John on Forest
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    And who are your nominees, BA?

  28. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t know. Just two other people.

  29. Theo Soul
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I finally made it out to Cuppy’s Best on Michigan Ave edge of town (right next to Value World). The personable service and quality of food reminded me a lot of Biggies. They have outside seating (Michigan Ave) and a few warm seats in their clean and cozy interior. I think it’s mostly a carry out place. They have less main menu items but more sides which I liked. I had fried chicken which was very good and perfectly cooked, chunky bitter collards and great black eyed peas (which I don’t think Biggies had). Next time I go I think I’ll just order sides and try the mac and cheese, fried okra and return to the peas.

    Anyway, I miss Biggies and remembered this series and thought I’d let like minded people know Cuppy’s is very worth a visit!

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