The new Slim Chickens franchise is just right down the street from me, so it was pretty inevitable that I'd be stopping by on one of those nights when the idea of cooking at home feels like winning a free colonoscopy. I swung into the parking lot with my wife to see a line of cars wrapped around the building to get their hands on Slim's two chicken varieties: wings and tenders. Slim's originated in Fayetteville in 2003, and the menu is a mix of fried chicken, fried sides, fried pies, and fried soda (only one of those is made up). The service was certainly quick in that surly fast food sort of way — we were through the long line in under 15 minutes — but the food left quite a lot to be desired.
We dove right into the menu with the basic Chick's Plate ($6.99), opting to sub in an order of fried mushrooms and an order of fried pickles to replace the normal fries or potato salad. The substitution was around a buck more, which we thought was more than fair — until the girl at the speaker told us they were out of pickles. And she said it right when the little screen below the speaker flashed up a high-definition picture of said fried pickles. Changing our pickle order to another of mushrooms, we got our total ($19.85) and drove around to get our order.
The resulting boxes of food were...well, they were fine, I guess. The mushrooms weren't fried nearly long enough, and between their slimy texture and loose breading it was rather hard to eat them. A mushroom has a lot of moisture to it, and it takes a good stay in hot grease in order to get one fried correctly — something that should be par for the course at a place like this. As for the chicken, the tenders were small, and while they were juicy enough, the overall flavor was just bland. A dunk into a cup of "Slim's Sauce" didn't really help things, and the end result was a completely forgettable meal.
Now granted, this is a fast food joint, but I'd hoped for a better showing from the Fayetteville-based chain. If Slim's wants to compete in that part of town — next to a KFC, down the road from Popeye's, and very near Little Rock's busiest restaurant, the Chik-Fil-A on Markham, they're going to have to get their frying times down for sides, spice up the chicken and sauces, and get a little friendlier to patrons. I'll give the place some time to settle in and try again, but my first impression was that this location is coming off a little less than half-cocked.