Deer Park is a special place in Cincinnati. I call it the West side of the East Side. Deer Park folks have likely grown up there for at least two generations, and everyone seems to know everyone. When we walked in to Chicken on the Run this past Monday, I had a feeling this is the kind of place where everyone knows your name.
First of all, for a Monday night there wasn’t a parking spot to be had. A group of geriatrics took most of the spots with their Buicks and Cadillacs, but luckily my old Buick found a spot among them. We walked in with a sheepish, “it’s our first time here,” look on our faces, but no one seemed to care. After wandering around for a while, we grabbed a table and waited. Quite frankly, we waited a while. We clearly aren’t the regulars here and would not be treated as such. In their defense, the old folks in the banquet room were still going strong, and one server is going to struggle to catch up to the people that just walked in. She did, and we all survived without starving.
With beers, wings, and Saratoga chips on the way, we were content once again. A jukebox kept things from being too boring as two members of our group babbled about Android vs. Windows phones and internet security. The wings and chips arrived without too much delay. The wings were good, although nothing to get excited about. The chips were still nice and hot, seasoned just right, and the barbeque sauce was thick enough to stay on the chips. So far, so good.
When the server returned we took to bothering the hell out of her. When Tim stole Mike’s signature “what would you recommend?” move, Mike was forced to improvise.
“What did you have for dinner tonight?” was his new question for the server. Although sufficiently creeped out, she ordered him a salad just the way she likes it. Just so happens, Mike is a pseudo-vegetarian these days so he was on board with a pile of rabbit food as well. So with everyone else ordering a burger or a salad, I thought I had to try something with chicken in the name. A double-decker chicken club was ordered up for me.
The food arrived just the way it should at a bar- in a basket on some wax paper. The fries were, well, your basic fries, but the salad and burgers seemed to hit the spot- thumbs up from everyone but me. Ironically, the chicken wasn’t very good. It was tough and dry, way over-cooked. Other reviews online seem to back me up here, but needless to say I was disappointed. Overall, however, Chicken on the Run stays in our good graces for a its old-fashioned neighborhood bar environment and good burgers (and dare I say, salad).
And now for our favorite part of the place… As we sat there we noticed that each time the music stopped we heard crazy sci-fi galactic sounds from the other room… Oh yes. Chicken on the Run has an arcade. Well, kind of. They have 6 machines to be exact: a cigarette dispenser, a crane-prize game, Ms. Pac Man, Big Buck Hunter, some truck racing game, and an old NASA themed pinball machine. Unfortunately, the Big Buck Hunter wasn’t calibrated anymore, the pinball machine had several lights out, and none of us needed a pack of smokes. But still, who doesn’t love an arcade? In the age of handheld entertainment devices and crazy at-home systems, the days of the pinball wizard seem numbered. Kudos to Chicken on the Run for keeping it alive (and keeping several of our quarters).
At $19 for two 20oz. beers, a sandwich & fries, some Saratoga chips, and some wings, it wasn’t the cheapest place we’ve eaten, but it was still a good value. Throw in the chance to play pinball, Chicken on the Run was an all-around good experience for Dives without Wives.
For more information, visit Chicken on the Run on Facebook
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