Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chicken & Jo-Jos

Last month I listed the Reel 'M' Inn tavern as a stop on a Division Street pub crawl, despite never having been in there myself. That didn't seem very prudent, so I stopped in recently at lunchtime to try the tavern's signature chicken and jo-jos. If you're wondering what the heck jo-jos are, they're quartered potatoes, battered and deep fried. Mmm mmm!

It's quite a bargain. The picture at right doesn't quite do justice to the massive quantity of fried food that comprises Reel 'M' Inn's 3-piece plate -- $7.75 gets you a drumstick, a breast, a thigh, and a couple pounds of potatoes. Simple but tasty, and probably best shared by two. It's not fast food: I ended up waiting so long for my lunch that I burned my mouth as I tried to inhale my fresh-fried goodies and get back on schedule. It wasn't due to slow kitchen help -- there's no kitchen and no help, just the bartender and a fryer behind the bar. I guess it takes a long time to fry potato chunks that big.

Mirror Pond was the only drinkable beer on tap, unless you're able to drink Pabst or Blue Moon; for readers of It's Pub Night, the fried foodstuffs are the attraction. The early afternoon crowd was an affable mixture of geezers and geeks, all male except for the bartender. It's a really small place, you probably wouldn't want to invade with a party larger than four. Reel 'M' Inn is at 25th and Division; check it out next time you need a heaping helping of fried bird.


  1. I'm hoping that picture doesn't do justice to anything regarding your meal. It looks like you'd have to bite through a 1/4" layer of congealed grease to get any nutrition.

    I've been in there a couple of times...never made it past the ATM on a round trip back to Dot's.

  2. Dave: There was grease in the meal, that's for sure. But it was well done, everything crisp and not slimy.

    Hmm... looks like I need to put Dot's on the list of post-smoking-ban places to try. What's the beer situation there?

  3. Jeez, but your attendant photo is macabre! It seems to show a deep-fried gosling, wing pointing downward and dessicated eyehole peering accusingly at the camera.

    On the bright side, I find Mirror Pond to be rather less dreadful.

  4. Po: It does look like that! Or like a mother duck and the little ducklings cowering under her wing all fried up together.

    It's my fault. The plate was piled up very symmetrically but I shoved the potatoes and chicken around to have a ketchup area before I remembered to take a picture.

  5. It's like watching clouds...I see a buck-tooth turtle clubbing a baby seal.

    Bill: Haven't been to Dot's in years and have no memory of the beer within. I think the cheese fries might be more greasy than your Reel'm'Inn meal, if that's your thing.

  6. I like the Reel M Inn, just because it's got such a neighborhood feel. The vibe carries it a lot farther than your average dive.

  7. grotusque: It's definitely a neighborhood institution. One guy at the bar the other day said he used to have to roust his father out of there decades ago. He told me the former name of it, too, which I instantly forgot ("the Fall on Inn" or something like that).