Milich's Village Inn
 Barberton, Ohio       Date of Visit  04/05/12      
 No Known Website

It is no secret I remain uninitiated and unmoved by the champions of Barberton chicken. Honestly, I havenít really made much of an effort, but to this point my meager efforts have been met only by less effort on behalf of the purveyors of this unimpressive yard bird specialty. Still, we decided to try another place that we had not been to before and headed to Milichís Village Inn to see if it was us, the chicken or the other places we had been. It might be us but I'm pretty sure itís the chicken.



Barberton's Chips and Salsa. Comes in White and Wheat

The best word I can summon to describe this place at 2:00 on a Thursday is sad. Seriously, heart wrenchingly sad. Cavernous and quiet there are two occupied tables when we entered. Three other tables held the remnants of past diners like a slop exhibit in a very weird museum. Two waitresses sat at a table reading the newspaper and they looked very sad. The other diners certainly didnít have an interest or the stamina to produce a smile. The interior is faded and dingy in a sad way. Our table had a sad little lean and wobble. The cook that appeared from the back looked angry, I think he was angry about being so sad all the time. I could feel myself tearing up.

The menu says ďChicken Capital of the WorldĒ. Okey Dokey. We ordered the lunch special chicken and to compare with our Belgradeís adventure I ordered the fish. We were delivered two slices each of white and wheat bread on a plate. Slouching towards stale the bread was aided by a good dose of Sumnerís butter. This confused me. Spend the cash on some fairly good butter but set it down next to a bottle of (and Iím not kidding) Red Gold Tomato Ketchup.

One of These Things is Just Like The Other...Chicken or Fish? Can You Tell?

I'm Wondering If They Hide the Protein for a Reason

Not a Harbinger of Happiness

Good Thing The Fries Are Tasty Enough Not To Need Precious Metal Quality Ketchup

It was driven into my head years ago that if you want to tell customers you donít care, just donít buy Heinz. There are other well-known brands but what is this stuff? If you gotta put GOLD on the label I get nervous. I didnít read the bottle but I think it might have said something about being produced by Uncle Louís Specialty Bathtub Gravies, in New Jersey. Iíll stick to the butter.

Both meals come with fries, slaw and ďhot sauceĒ. The fish was a soaring, flaming disappointment. The menu has you pick between pike, haddock and cod, I thought hey, they are fresh frying stuff up here. Wrong. Previously hermetically sealed and identical sticks of fishiness found their way out of the box in the freezer and came covered with fries. Unfortunately, at some point you run out of fries and make it to the fish sticks. Stop there. I have never been so happy to have little packets of tartar sauce. I even added in the ďhot sauceĒ to mask the taste. It almost worked. The fries are fresh cut and pretty good. The slaw is tangy and a little sweet, not bad. The hot sauce is once again, neither hot nor sauce and not anything to write home about.


Juicer Than Other Joint, Just Doesn't Taste Very Good

Fresh From the Freezer

"Hot Sauce" Still Confuses Me

Simple And Tangy Slaw Works

Then there is the chicken. At least the version here was still moist. I tried to talk Steph into ordering a meal that came with a chicken back so I could put a picture up but it was not meant to be. The breading is clunky and actually detracts from the overall flavor. It wasnít just me, Steph left most of it sitting on the side of her plate. To me the best part of great fried chicken is what the breading and the chicken do together in both taste and texture. This is the opposite of that.

I also added an order of mash with chicken gravy. The taters are fresh right out of the box and are only marginally improved by the gravy. This place has been serving the locals for decades. They know they will be busy for Sunday lunch regardless of how hard they try. So they donít. Instant mash, fish sticks, soupy rice, lackadaisical service. That would all be well and good and they would get away with it if the chicken was just killer. It ainít. I might be done trying to understand the enigma and anathema that is Barberton chicken. If Iím lucky I will get back to Delilahís in Philly and to Willie Maeís in NOLA. Til then, Iíll stick to the Chesterís version from the gas station.

The Lump of Instant Mash Sums It All Up



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        Fries Sauce, Fish, Breading,
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