Chicken in the Rough
BY: Mark Hancock

When I moved back to Oklahoma City after a decade-long absence, I was bummed to see that Beverly’s Pancake House, across from Penn Square Mall, was gone. I felt a longing in my heart that only the words of ’80s hair-metal band Cinderella could describe accurately: “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.

I had spent many of my teen years at Beverly’s, ordering Big Bev Burgers and Tex-Mex skillets after skipping out of class to catch an afternoon movie. I’m sure I could have paid for at least one semester of college with the amount of cash I spent on their delicious food.

When I returned to OKC, I was downright giddy with anticipation to relive those geeky acts of youthful rebellion by taking in a movie at Penn Square and then hopping over to Beverly’s for Chicken in the Rough. Only the movie theater was being renovated. And Beverly’s was gone.

When a friend recently suggested Beverly’s for a late-night dinner, I gloomily intoned that Bev’s was no longer with us.

Imagine my gluttonous delight when I learned that it had only moved farther up the road!

This new Beverly’s was clean and streamlined and retro-cool, looking like the diner in Back to the Future. But as soon as I ordered my Chicken in the Rough — a half of a chicken, quartered and fried in its secret herbs and spices — I knew that this was still the same old Beverly’s. I was home again.

Late-night feasting
The food has always been top-notch, and I’ve visited the current location several times now. On one particular trip, I ordered fried green tomatoes ($5.99), a Chicken in the Rough meal ($8.99) and, for dessert, pecan pie ($3.99 a slice).

My late-night dining partner had the Farmer’s Daughter ($8.99), a huge breakfast of blueberry pancakes, two eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and hash browns. Now that’s my kind of farmer’s daughter!

The Chicken in the Rough, one of the classic signature dinners for which Beverly’s is locally famous, was absolute fried chicken perfection. The skin was crispy and seasoned so right, with the savory meat delivering deep-fried flavor in every bite.

The mashed potatoes, with the skins still on, are also wonderful — creamy, buttery and obviously fresh.

The fried green tomatoes are my new favorite things ever, and so much better than the movie.

My dining partner’s Farmer’s Daughter was also exceptional. The pancakes were fluffy, the eggs were scrambled with an aura of total expertise, the hash browns
were crisp with a hint of buttery goodness, and all the meats were the
best that a breakfast meat could possibly be.

Finally, the ample
slice of pecan pie was a real treat. There is no better Southern
dessert, in my opinion, and Bev’s didn’t let me down.
The filling was oh-so-very rich and sinful that I’m pretty sure I need
to confess it to a priest. The crust was flaky and the top- ping chewy
with a nice nutty crunch. It’s all you could ever want from a pie. Ever.

Looking at the menu, there are many other items I want — nay, need
to try. From the chicken and waffles ($7.99) and the Southern-fried
catfish ($9.99) to the sweet potato pancakes ($6.99) to the — for old
times’ sake — Big Bev burger ($7.99), there’s still so much I need to
ingest from them. Maybe even all in one sitting.

is the perfect late-night dinner spot. It’s open 24 hours. And, really,
what better place to go after a concert or midnight movie?

may have graduated from high school long ago, but Beverly’s steadfast
dedication to keeping the classic diner alive in Oklahoma City is a
continuing education that I wouldn’t skip for any reason. Even a movie.

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