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​Alabama Fried Chicken – A Great Southern Tradition - Chicken Shack Of Luverne Wins Contest

Posted by John W. Giles on

In the past few weeks, I thought about my deceased parents when Alabama was abuzz about the Alabama Fried Chicken contest. It centered on Bama’s Best Fried Chicken in a Facebook contest sponsored by the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association and the Alabama Poultry Producers. From all of the restaurants competing statewide, there were two finalists; Chicken Shack in Luverne and Red’s Little Schoolhouse of Grady. Chicken Shack won with 55% and Red’s Little Schoolhouse got 45% of the vote. The Chicken Shack has deep ties to my family, let me explain.
A.J. Nichols (Nick) of Luverne one day called my dad, William Ollie Giles, Sr., founder of Giles Enterprises, Inc. with the idea if opening up a donut shop in Luverne. My dad gave Nick and his wife Dot great counsel that a stand-alone donut shop might not survive; but if the menu consisted of donuts, fried chicken and soft serve ice cream it should be a good fit. They called my dad Papa Giles. Nichols went right to work putting together a take away shop, which was located where the parking lot of the current Chicken Shack is in Luverne. Nick called my dad in a little panic one day and told dad they needed a name for the restaurant and made 

an appeal to my dad for help. Without blinking, dad said why you don’t name it Chicken Shack. You would have thought my dad was Moses coming off the mountain with the Ten Commandments with his off the cuff impromptu suggestion. Nick many years later sold the Chicken Shack to his faithful general manger Henry Money and today his sons Drew and Michael Money carry on the tradition. They serve excellent consistent southern food with great service, rightly priced and now emboldened with the distinct title of having the best fried chicken in Alabama. Let’s talk about the fried chicken.
My dad and mother; William Ollie and Mary Ella Giles created Chester the Chick Golden Tip Fried Chicken in the late

60’s. As my dad would tell it, Chester was born at our family kitchen table at 1013 Highpoint Road in Montgomery, Alabama. The Tip was two drumsticks crossed like a “T”. We had to drop “Tip” from the name because Golden Dip Fried Chicken proved legally we were infringing on their name. After that it became Chester The Chick and in the early 80’s it became Chester Fried and in the 90’s became Chester’s. Mother and dad developed the marinade, which soaks the chicken overnight. This drew the blood off the meat, seasoned and tenderized it to the bone and raised the weight of the bird by 12%. In the beginning they created a single dip breading; we always called Regular Chicken Breading. It is a corn meal and corn flour based breading with a gentle palatable blend of seasoning. To this day the Chicken Shack uses my mother and dad’s marinade and regular chicken breading.
It does not stop there; dad designed an automatic chicken cooker that was designed around my mother’s cast iron skillet. The original unit was a five gallon low pressure vessel with a 2” cold zone in the bottom, gravity sealed lid with and automatic lift that brought the chicken out of the frying oil after the cooking cycle. The first unit was a MGF-20 A “High Back” 20 piece fryer. MGF stood for Mary Giles Fryer. To this day, the Money brothers continue the Chicken Shack tradition with Chester’s marinade, regular breading and a Giles Fry Kettle. 
Congratulations Chicken Shack!  
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