During coffee last week with a friend, I was reminded that I needed to visit Tenders Fresh Food in Cornelius. I'd been told that they have some of the best friend chicken around, but I had forgotten -- until it was mentioned during our morning conversation.
So yesterday I headed out to meet another friend at Tenders. On the corner of Westmoreland and Statesville Roads in Cornelius, it's easy to find. And from the looks of the parking lot at noon -- a LOT of people have already found it.
I walked in and took a look at the menu. It's very basic. In fact, the menu reminded me of the menus available at Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. This restaurant focuses on only a few things and does them well. As opposed to some of those fast-food restaurants that have dozens of entrees, Tenders has only three -- Chicken Tenders, Chicken Sandwich, and a Pork Loin Sandwich.
I chose the Chicken Tenders, and added Honey-Mustard sauce, Fries, and a Pepsi. While waiting for my order I looked around the restaurant. This place is VERY clean. Not a speck of dirt or crumb of food around. The owner obviously takes pride in this restaurant.
Once my food was ready, I loaded up on ketchup, went outside, and grabbed a table with an umbrella for shade. I took a bite of the fried chicken and was amazed how tender the chicken was. It almost fell apart while picking it up -- something I wasn't ready for.
Usually,when eating chicken tenders, I've found them to be tough and rubbery. However, these were juicy and tender, and had quite a lot of flavor. In addition, the fried batter was thick and crispy. On a few occasions when I took a bite, the chicken pulled away from the rest of the tender, leaving a large portion of fried batter waiting for my next bite. These are easily the best chicken tenders that I've had, and it could be the best fried chicken that I've had.
The fries are cut and fried on the premises, as the bags of potatoes will attest. In addition, the skins are left on the fries, which only makes me like this place more. I found the fries to be crunchy and tender -- much like the chicken I was enjoying.
This was a really great meal, at a VERY reasonable price ($6 and change). It's locally owned and all of their ingredients are fresh. I can't recommend this place enough.
Price: $ (food and drink under $10)
Kid Friendly: Yes. They offer a kids meal, and I don't think your children could hurt the cement floors. Also, what kid doesn't love chicken tenders?
Conclusion: This is a great local restaurant. They only do a few things, and they make a GREAT fried chicken. I highly recommend it.
Tenders Fresh Food
18341 Statesville Rd.
Cornelius, NC 28031-9184