Passing the Torch
Critchfield to resurrect fried chicken tradition on Southland
BY KRISTINA ROSEN
No one takes fried chicken more seriously than Kentucky (September is chicken month), and Lexington went into community-wide mourning when Save-a-Lot closed on Southland Drive earlier this summer. Their popular deli was home to a perpetual contender in Lexington’s ongoing battle for the best fried chicken in town.
Celebrating National Chicken Month in style, Critchfield Meats has announced that they will be taking over the Save-A-Lot space and transforming it into Critchfield Meats Family Market. The company purchased the chicken recipe and plans to offer the same famous fried chicken at the now-shuttered Save-a-Lot.
“We’re most excited for the area, it is a big plus for those people living there. It will be a showpiece for Lexington,” says Larry McMillan, CEO of Critchfield.
Critchfield will eventually close its current location off Nicholasville Road in the Zandale Shopping Center for the larger space on Southland that also provides ample parking.
Lexington Farmers’ Market, which makes its Sunday summer home in that same parking lot, is enthusiastic about the move. Market Manager Josh England says, “The Lexington Farmers’ Market has seen many changes on Southland Drive in over a decade of service to the community. We are once again very happy to hear that the fried chicken leg is being passed to such a great family business and advocate for local food. Welcome to the neighborhood Critchfield Meats.”
Donut Days Bakery welcomed the relocation news in unique neighborhood style by baking a steak-cake.
Owner Fred Wohlstein says, “They’re a great fit for Southland Drive and it’s a local family business which fits our culture. This area is paved with family owned businesses.”
Critchfield Meats Family Market will feature a full-service grocery store, restaurant, deli, bakery, and indoor and outdoor seating areas. The butcher counter will continue to be the main draw with the deli and bakery aspects serving as a big part of the future operation. Everything will continue to be made from scratch using their 75 year old recipes.
“It will truly be a family restaurant,” says McMillan.
Everyday grocery items will be available for purchase with a focus on Kentucky Proud vendors, Critchfield Meats offerings, and economical products.
“We will almost double our staff so there will be opportunities for employment. It will be centered around local,” says McMillan. “We’re working with the Department of Agriculture and local farmers.”
Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles adds, “The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is proud of the long-standing relationship we have with Critchfield Meats and we are excited as they expand to an additional location,” “We want everyone to know that we stand ready to assist anyone in increasing both the access to and sales of Kentucky products.”
Renovations have begun, but it will take several months to complete.
A hopeful nation remains optimistic that National Chicken Month will return to in-style, in-person celebrations by this time next year.
This article also appears on page 10 & 11 of the September 2020 print edition of Ace Weekly.
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