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Dining on a Dime: Hen of the Wood

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Hen of the Wood fried chicken, mashed potatoes and Parker House rolls - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Hen of the Wood fried chicken, mashed potatoes and Parker House rolls
Hen of the Wood is no Bob’s Big Boy — or maybe it’s the other way around. Still, the two restaurants were bound the other night by Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 song “Open All Night” and its rockabilly riff on snackin’:

"I met Wanda when she was employed / Behind the counter at the Route 60 Bob’s Big Boy /Fried chicken on the front seat she’s sittin’ in my lap / We’re wipin’ our fingers on a Texaco road map."

The song was on my mind Sunday evening when I picked up a bag of fried chicken at Hen of the Wood in Burlington. I placed it on the front seat, inches from our always-on-hand New Hampshire/Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer.  I’d be home in a flash; there was no need to snack en route or grease-up the map.



Hen’s fried chicken dinner on January 3 was the latest installment in its weekly to-go special called Send It Sunday. The four pieces ($15) were offered with a couple of choices. We picked mashed potatoes with gravy ($5) and hot honey dipping sauce ($2) — dinner for two for $22.

An order of Parker House rolls, four for $7, put our meal a few bucks over the $12 per person Dining on a Dime limit. We got them anyway. (If you can wipe your fingers on a Texaco road map, you can do whatever you want.) It's safe to say the rolls were as tempting to me on Sunday as Wanda was to Bruce 40 years ago. In other words, irresistible. 

Hen’s fried chicken — crispy on the outside, moist within — is boneless. Eating the dark-meat thighs (yay!) with your fingers is a pretty clean routine. No gnawing, clawing, sinew-sucking, bone-yanking or map-wiping required. The Parker House rolls, pull-apart beauties we smeared with butter, were worth cheatin' for.
Under the chicken was a clue to Send It Sunday. - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Under the chicken was a clue to Send It Sunday.

No road map accompanied our Hen of the Wood fried chicken. But a piece of paper that lined the foil container, spattered with grease, offered a clue to Send It Sunday. Obscured by chicken, the text was revealed when we ate:

“Every Sunday a new special of the foods we love to eat!”

Up next is a baller burger. Sounds like a Bruce song  to me.
Dining on a Dime is a series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line: food@sevendaysvt.com