Nothing says you’re at a southern style hometown diner more than seeing a chicken fried steak on the menu. That glorious breaded steak cutlet dish coated with seasoned flour and fried to golden goodness is a favorite of yours truly.
Recently I took it upon myself to find a great chicken fried steak in central Texas. I asked friends for their recommendations and set out to try each and every one. Now I won’t name them all but there were ten places I decided on that I’d try out their version of this southern standard. No, this wasn’t a scientific examination. There wasn’t going to be any set in stone standards to judge them by so I set up my own based on my own experience eating these for decades
At each stop I basically chose the same items: Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, white gravy, and green beans. May as well put everyone on the same playing field. (One place didn’t have green beans so I chose a double potato serving.)
After taking the month to eat these ten servings it was a tough decision as to who had the best. I judged on tenderness of the cutlet and how the batter fried up. Part of the experience is the meal as a whole, not just the entree, so I also judged the flavor & texture of potatoes, the creaminess of the gravy, and how the beans came out.
After taking all things into consideration it became evident that one place stood out from the crowd. Fry’s in Belton, Tx, with an honorable mention going out to Old Jody’s in Temple.
But Fry’s chicken fried steak was the most tender cutlet I think I’ve ever had. Literally it could have melted in my mouth. The fried crust wasn’t over done and had a great seasoning to it. Mashed potatoes from scratch with a tasty cream gravy smothering them and the CFS. And I have to give them bonus points on their green beans. So many places boil there’s. Fry’s is lightly boiled so they maintain their “snap”.
If you’ve never heard of Fry’s, that doesn’t surprise me. A small place that’s kind of off the beaten path, it’s on FM317/Main Street in Belton just south of the town square, far removed from any “restaurant row”. And though they serve a delicious breakfast always (that’s a post for another time), this time it was the chicken fried steak that put them on top when I wanted to get a little chicken fried.