The Keg and I

Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm
By: Doug Lund
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the keg sign“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 keg fryingThe 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.

13 Comments

  1. Dean Sorenson says:

    Doug, I agree, the Keg is one of those special parts of Sioux Falls.
    Let’s gather at the west side, and keep the good eatin’ goin’.

  2. Ed Oliver says:

    Sure going to miss the east side location. We will get to the west side, just not as often.

  3. Peg says:

    Well you certainly dated yourself…yet again…if you remember Ricky’s. I too remember Ricky’s but I don’t care if I am old..it brings discounts

  4. Crawford T. says:

    Some of us are decrepit enough to remember the Barrel, actually.

  5. grouse says:

    Oh fer dumb Doug! It’s only a couple miles farther west via the interstate. How lazy can one human being be that it’s too much effort to crawl into his nice comfortable Lincoln Town Car and have to make a sacrificial pilgrimage over that small amount of hill and dale to savor some of the world’s best chicken. With one location they’ll be able to better concentrate on each and every piece. Also, if you decide to eat in on the west side, they serve some might cold, frosty, palate cleansing beer. Why not make phone order right now…jump in that luxury car and treat your taste buds to the best chicken in the world.

  6. Wally says:

    I may be wrong Doug but i think Rickys quicke chickie Started at Rickys drive inn when it was operated by Ricky Hagar in the 23hundred blk. across the street from Cuttlers drive inn.

  7. Doug Lund says:

    Wally..I yield to your memory on this one.. My faulty research (a quick google search) had the Larsens buying from Rick Bell. I’m sure Ricky Hagar is correct. Bottom line is that its the best chicken I’ve ever had.

  8. party-pooper says:

    Sorry to pee in the pool, but I always thought the Keg’s chicken was a little on the dry side. Sure didn’t taste like grandma’s chicken.

  9. Prairieguy says:

    Wow, hard to believe the economy is even hitting Sioux Falls. I am from Aberdeen and remember the old Keg on 10th street that place was an old fun place, they don’t make em like that anymore. I will have to say I like the the 26th street Keg as is was closer to downtown where I go when I have to travel for buisness. I have had their delicious chicken at their location on 57th and find as good and the service as well. I will really miss the 26th street one and won’t have time to get to the 57th st. Darn

  10. SD Transplant says:

    Say it ain’t so Doug… There isn’t anything better when coming back home to visit the family than to take a ride into SF to the Keg and eat more chicken in one sitting that a man is suppose to. Well… I guess we can venture to the West side!

  11. PeteG says:

    I agree, and it is so sad to see another Sioux Falls landmark sliding closer to extinction. I worked at Rickys Drive In with Sidney Barnes while in High School and I would have to say that I have yet to find any fried chicken anywhere that compares to the original delicious tasting “Rickys Quickie Chickie”! I wonder if Ricky, Sid or any of the old 60′s crew are still around. Maybe we could start up a new place that specializes in Chislic.

  12. Kathryn Barnes says:

    My Dad is Sid Barnes! He’s still around! My mom worked there too!

  13. PeteG says:

    Kathryn,
    Great to hear that. I would really enjoy connecting with Sid. I had given up on this post after about a year. Hope all is still well.

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