By Zarah Parker
Killen’s in the Heights was a favorite of mine before it even completed remodeling its Heights Boulevard space.
The owner, Ronnie Killen, had organized various pop-ups earlier this year in the parking lot of the soon-to-be restaurant. Even though I’d only gone to two of those pop-ups, it was enough to make me a fan of the place and highly anticipate the opening.
The menu item that had me making reservations for opening night was the fried chicken.
At the restaurant, the buttermilk fried half-chicken, a breast and a thigh, came with mashed potatoes with brown gravy poured over the top and a biscuit.
The color of the fried chicken I find unique. It’s a deeper, almost golden brown. This I suspect has to do with the seasonings used in the batter. The chicken is juicy and easy to pull off the bone. But my favorite part is those seasonings from the crunchy exterior that seep into the chicken. It’s not spicy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the seasonings used were classic Cajun seasonings.
The mashed potatoes were smooth and the gravy elevated it with a slightly smoky flavor.
My dinner partner ordered the meatloaf with a side of butter beans and together we shared a side of creamed corn.
Portions at Killen’s are pretty big for just one person. The sides are definitely made to share, which is also why the price tags on the sides range from $7-$10 when you buy them separate from a meal.
The main entrees are big enough to share as the meatloaf was more than what one person could, or maybe should, eat in one sitting. And even though the fried chicken only came with two pieces, I took the thigh home.
I was able to taste the butter beans, which was a first for me. They, unsurprisingly, had a buttery flavor and were savory at the same time. My favorite side, however, was the creamed corn. The balance of cream to corn was perfect, and there was a kick to them, which I don’t often find in creamed corn. My dinner partner didn’t think the corn was spicy, but my taste buds did.
We got a slice of German chocolate cake for dessert. The cake was rich and the icing creamy with little flakes of coconut.
Our server was very helpful in choosing items from the menu, getting our food to our table and keeping our drinks fresh. But it took a weirdly long time for our dessert to be placed in front of us.
While Killen’s doesn’t have a kid’s menu, when I asked the server about it, he said the chefs can accommodate kids. The example he gave me was that while chicken tenders aren’t on the menu, they can make them.
Killen’s in a pricier place to eat, but with big portions and genuinely good food, it’s a restaurant you have to at least try once.
Address: 101 Heights Blvd.
Hours: 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Healthy options: Yes
Star of the show: Fried chicken