“Doug, did you see our “Keg” is closing?” Linda said after reading a story in the morning paper. “Oh, no,” came my reply in the same tone I would use at the loss of an old friend.
I’ve always liked fried chicken, I guess. But it wasn’t until I tasted “broasted” chicken from Ricky’s Quicky Chicky on East 10th Street in Sioux Falls way back in the 60’s that I learned to LOVE chicken and crave it like an addict in need of a fix.
What was so special about it? I have no idea except I’ve been told that the owner, Rick Bell, marinated every piece of chicken in a secret solution then rolled them in a generous amount of breading , the ingredients of which were also a well guarded secret, and then broasted them.
The end result was a less greasy crispy delicious coating on the outside and tender moist meat on the inside. Each batch cooked to order, no sitting under heat lamps or in holding ovens. It took a little longer but the wait was always worth it
I don’t know all the details but in 1979, Hal and Donna Larsen bought the business called Keg Beer Lounge which included Ricky’s special chicken recipe and the delicious tradition continued. I remember salivating as I sat in the car waiting to pick up my order at the drive-up window. Well, they got so much chicken business that they eventually moved into a larger east side location and when they outgrew that, relocated to 26th and Sycamore. The Larsen’s later sold the business to their son Neil and head cook, John Cassidy. They, too didn’t change the recipe and kept turning out that great chicken which led to expanding to a second store on the West side of Sioux Falls in 2004. After Sunday, it’s going to be the only Keg left.
In an interview with the Argus, Cassidy said the economy has been tough on the Keg’s business and when an opportunity arose to sell the 26th and Sycamore location, the decision was made to consolidate. So now, we get another sports bar in its place with lots of TV screens, beer varieties and boring plates of nachos, burgers and reheated frozen chicken strips. I’m sure that’s fine with some folks, but not for those of us who have had the world’s best fried chicken just down the street for all these years and probably figured it would always be there.
Well, Doug, you might be saying, you can still get Keg chicken, you just have to drive a ways for it. And that’s true but I know that when the fried chicken hankerings come upon me, I’ll end up staying close to home..settling for the so-so stuff offered up at grocery stores or the Colonel. Eventually, my taste buds will adapt to such mediocrity but my mind will never forget the pure pleasure of biting into a perfectly prepared piece of hot crunchy Ricky’s Quicky Chicky fresh from the fryers at the Keg. I just wish I and other east side Keg fans would have had those hankern’s more often so maybe the place wouldn’t have had to closed.