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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Chick-fil-A Dwarf House

Meat and three, CFA-style

Meat and three, CFA-style

Dear Chick-fil-A,

I have an idea for you.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Newnan branch of Chick-fil-A Dwarf House. For those of us who only know your fast-food outlets, these gabled-roof restaurants with their full table service come as a surprise, and not an unwelcome one. How nice to have a smiling waitress who remembers my drink order (unsweet tea with a touch of real lemonade) and keeps it filled. How nice to watch the carbs and order a chicken breast with Southern veggies instead of the bun and fries.

I’ve got no complaints about the chicken; that’s what you do well. You season it better than your competitors and fry it up to a realistic home-cooked crispness in peanut oil. The squiggly edges give the crunch, the fat center reliably beads with juice when you cut it.

My beef is with the veggies.

Porky but limp greens, heavily breaded okra, sweet potato casserole so processed and sweetened that you can’t find the real sweet potato in there. The nice manager in Newnan, when he asked how everything was, politely fielded all my questions about the veggies. He said they arrived already prepared, ready to go.

So here’s my idea.

You’ve only got 11 Dwarf House locations, and they’re all around Atlanta. Couldn’t you devise some kind of system to transport all fresh veggies to them and put the same kind of care that you lavish on the chicken?  Imagine how cool it would be for your customers if you had fresh pole beans, butterbeans and collards in season.

It’s not a big complaint. You’re not preparing your veggies any worse that most Southern-style cafeterias and chain restaurants. But you could make them better, right?

Sincerely,

- John Kessler for the Food & More blog

40 comments Add your comment

Kar

August 13th, 2013
1:12 pm

I don’t know much about the Dwarf House restaurant but I guess my question would be, are they committed to this being a local thing or are they eyeing expansion plans to roll these out across the country a la Bob Evans.

If they’re thinking National then it makes sense to keep it all prepackaged so that they have the same consistancy in Dekale as Des Moines.

That said, it sounds like they need to work on their recipes regardless.

Marsh

August 13th, 2013
1:52 pm

Spicy, do the world a favor and go play in traffic. What, you can’t stick to Galloway’s column, or too scared to create a log-in?

Chickfila will go the way of Walmart once Truett dies. I don’t look forward to it.

ace

August 13th, 2013
2:18 pm

Good food, too much to pay for chicken (cheapest meat at the grocery store)

amy

August 13th, 2013
2:28 pm

I ahve had awesome veggies at both a Dwarf House and Truett’s locations and their sweet potatoes were some of the best. Maybe it was an off day for them.
As far as CFA going the way of Walmart when Truett dies. I seriously doubt it. Bubba is just as dedicated to the values as Truett.

Baltisraul......

August 13th, 2013
2:34 pm

I think I will sit out this discussion. Out of hand early on!

Anita

August 13th, 2013
2:53 pm

Spicy, get a life and get off of the blog! Every time there’s a problem someone wants to blame Obama and his supporters.

Bhorsoft

August 13th, 2013
2:57 pm

Agreed, Balti…

Expecting some folks to object to the name Dwarf House as well – wondering why it isn’t the “Vertically Challenged House”

Sargon

August 13th, 2013
3:00 pm

Best thing about Dwarf House? They serve the Chik-fil-a sandwich anytime. Always better than a biscuit. (Even if JK does not believe in eating chicken in the am)

Chantal

August 13th, 2013
3:02 pm

For fresh vegetables cooked daily, try Sarah’s Country Cooking in Stockbridge.

(the other) Rodney

August 13th, 2013
3:14 pm

Maybe it’s me, but the photo makes it even more unappetizing. Deappetizing? Gross? ;)

I think I’m going to really enjoy these chain write ups this week. I rarely ever have to eat at them (when family comes to town to visit, Red Lobster is a “do” – that’s eatin’ high on the hog for them) but it’s nice to see someone pick out the best of the worst.

Don’t get me wrong – that makes me come off sounding like a snob, and to an extent … well – I’ll just say that every half a year or so (or hard night out), ain’t nothing going to satisfy me but a quarter pounder with cheese and a LARGE Coke.

Mike

August 13th, 2013
3:15 pm

There’s no reason they couldn’t supply fresh vegetables from a single source and have them prepared according to closely-guarded recipes. Or they could improve the production and distribution process for the frozen vegetables so they have better texture and consistency.

Now I’m going home to leftover fried chicken made from the Frances Virginia Tea Room recipe, which trumps Mr. Cathy and the Colonnade.

(Amy, there’s a great biography about Harlan Sanders – you should read his very outspoken thoughts about what happened to KFC after he sold out. “Gravy like wallpaper paste.” “Extra Crispy is a nasty greasy ball of dough.” Unlike Sam Walton, he lived to see the decline.)

Joe Obvious

August 13th, 2013
3:31 pm

John, you must have gotten a bad batch of okra. The Dwarf House in Woodstock has some of the best in town.

Carolyn

August 13th, 2013
3:35 pm

I think you are right- on about the vegetables. I had the sweet tater casserole and it was so sweet, cloyingly so, that I couldn’t eat them.

Te

August 13th, 2013
3:49 pm

Bring back the Chicken Pot Pie!!!! Please, Please, Please!!

Bad experience!!

August 13th, 2013
4:17 pm

My family and I ate at the Dwarf house in Gwinnett two years ago. They have a Saturday morning buffet which we like to visit when we are not running the kids around to various activities. Our last visit was horrible. The service was terrible, food mediocre and both my husband and I were sick within minutes of leaving the restaurant. Needless to say, I have NEVER been to another Dwarf house. I will stick to the safe, prepackaged Chick-fil-a food.

Michelle Davis

August 13th, 2013
4:31 pm

I used to work at the Dwarf House in Jonesboro back when it opened in 1985. Excellent experience as an employee and waitress. As for the food, if you go back, try the Hot Brown. Best item hands down on the Dwarf House menu. It is a chick-fil-a breast cut up and put in a individual casserole dish, covered with white gravy, shredded cheddar cheese and topped with two slices of crispy bacon. Served with toast points for dipping :-) . Yummmm…I want one now! Dessert – fried peach pie topped with CFA vanilla ice cream…. Wow, I may have to take a trip to Woodstock for my semi-annual Hot Brown fix tonight!

Rich Black

August 13th, 2013
4:37 pm

Horrible. Worse than the fast food. Southern comfort it’s not.

ace

August 13th, 2013
4:41 pm

Joe, things are good —- what your problems that you blame others for ?

Jerry

August 13th, 2013
4:44 pm

Chick-fil-A has the friendliest and most competent employes of any fast food restaurant that I have been to. And the food is good too. As for the okra, I haven’t found a restaurant yet that has a clue.

Rich Black

August 13th, 2013
4:46 pm

Stupid people think they are going to an upscale restaurant.

Rich Black

August 13th, 2013
4:48 pm

Jerry,
Don’t get out much do you?

Jerry

August 13th, 2013
4:52 pm

I get out enough to know that its stupid to think that these people on this blog think they are going to an upscale restaurant.

Art

August 13th, 2013
4:55 pm

I had a dream last night about a food blog where everyone talked about food and eating and restaurants and such. While there were a lot of differing opinions and healthy discussions, no one ever called anyone else stupid or made disparaging remarks about race or sexuality and politics was never discussed. Then I woke up…

Hapeville Girl

August 13th, 2013
5:12 pm

I know all about the Dwarf House in Hapeville, 40 years worth, and it has gone down hill for many years now. It use to be so much fun back in the day. You had to wait hours to be seated, and no one cared! Now, Delta and other Companies stopped eating there as much, because the red meats taste awful. Get better Dwarf House before Porsche opens. No selection on steak sauces, and no more BBQ sauce is nuts. The original CFA chicken recipe is not the same. The steak is not steak and the hamburgers and steak sandwiches are weird tasting now. That is not decent meat CFA. The food is nothing like they use to serve. The food has changed and not for the better. The grill is not used much anymore. The food is shipped in and prepared in the back kitchen. Kids meals sit TOO long. Throw it away CFA. Cheap is not a good look on you. Stop with so much processed food with hidden ingredients now that will make you sick sometimes.(Bathroom breaks anyone)? The Asian Menu is a disaster. $8, for a pile of kale. Zaxby’s gives you a real salad, real veggies, soo good, for much less. The Dwarf House famous fried pies are shipped in now, and are awful. The cookie for over a $1, is a joke. What is that thang anyways? The veggies are shipped in, kept warm too long. And the tea brand changed and is cheap now. Very hit and miss. The prices are TOO high for what they serve. Portions have gone down too much, Dwarf House is good only for breakfast from the grill, not those horrible hours old biscuits at takeout. The Hot Brown, when they actually cook them correctly in the microwave is good. Sometimes, they are cold in the middle, and for $10, who can afford to throw that away? And last, FIX THE PARKING LOT AND CONSTRUCTION ALREADY. Jeeze, years later and it is still a mess. Leave well enough alone. Close the doors off, then you put them back, redo the parking lot numerous times, and still forgot to fix the covers that rock you out of your car when you drive through or over them. CFA will fall out soon. Too much change. The lines are long sometimes at lunch, nothing like they use to be. Changing the menu and taking away favorites for seniors was a huge mistake. Fussing at seniors for asking for coffee/drink refills is ridiculous. That’s who kept you in biz all these years. The seniors and their families and friends.

Dwarf Hapeville

August 13th, 2013
5:24 pm

The Coke and straight fries are the best and btter than other resturants.

Dwarf Hapeville

August 13th, 2013
5:25 pm

But, I know all about the Dwarf House in Hapeville, 40 years worth, and it has gone down hill for many years now. It use to be so much fun back in the day. You had to wait hours to be seated, and no one cared! Now, Delta and other Companies stopped eating there as much, because the red meats taste awful. Get better Dwarf House before Porsche opens. No selection on steak sauces, and no more BBQ sauce is nuts. The original CFA chicken recipe is not the same. The steak is not steak and the hamburgers and steak sandwiches are weird tasting now. That is not decent meat CFA. The food is nothing like they use to serve. The food has changed and not for the better. The grill is not used much anymore. The food is shipped in and prepared in the back kitchen. Kids meals sit TOO long. Throw it away CFA. Cheap is not a good look on you. Stop with so much processed food with hidden ingredients now that will make you sick sometimes.(Bathroom breaks anyone)?

Dwarf Hapeville

August 13th, 2013
5:30 pm

The Asian Menu is a disaster. $8, for a pile of kale. WT? is the hot peppers? No crackers anymore, no croutons? Zaxby’s gives you a real salad, real veggies, texas toast, soo good, for much less. The Dwarf House not so famous fried pies are shipped in now, and are awful. The cookie for over a $1, is a joke. What is that thang anyways? The veggies are shipped in, kept warm too long. And the tea brand changed and is cheap now. Very hit and miss. The prices are TOO high for what they serve. Portions have gone down too much. Dwarf House is good only for breakfast from the grill, not those horrible hours old nuke biscuits at takeout. The Hot Brown, when they actually cook them correctly in the microwave is good. Sometimes, they are cold in the middle, and for $10, who can afford to throw that away?

Dwarf Hapeville

August 13th, 2013
5:41 pm

And last, FIX THE PARKING LOT AND CONSTRUCTION ALREADY. Jeeze, years later and it is still a mess. Leave well enough alone. Close the doors off, then you put them back, redo the parking lot numerous times, and still forgot to fix the covers that rock you out of your car when you drive through or over them. CFA will fall out soon. Too much change.

Dwarf Hapeville

August 13th, 2013
5:44 pm

The lines are long sometimes at lunch, nothing like they use to be. Changing the menu and taking away favorites for seniors was a mistake IMHO. Posting a sign at seniors, and past fussing at seniors for asking for coffee/drink refills is was/ridiculous. That’s who kept you in biz all these years. The seniors and their families and friends.

Ned Ludd

August 14th, 2013
9:19 am

It’s an overhead issue. Cooking fresh vegetables requires skill and patience. Cooking precut and breaded frozen veggies is done by the clock. Someone able to actually cook would have to be paid more than minimum wage as opposed to a clock watcher who is there simply to clock in and out with no concern for quality. We can thank corporate management for this.

John Kessler

August 14th, 2013
3:00 pm

You ‘n me, both. Art. Going through and getting non-food commentary scrubbed.

John Kessler

August 14th, 2013
3:01 pm

Thanks for the rec, Michelle Davis

biscuit

August 14th, 2013
4:38 pm

Eat at the Woodstock DH quite a bit. Friendly, good food and service, clean and popular. Love it!

Commuter

August 14th, 2013
4:52 pm

I made the pilgrimage to Hapeville for the Hot Brown this summer, just wish I had some Underberg bitters for after the meal.

College Park Guy

August 14th, 2013
10:23 pm

CFA started as a diner — “CFA” was just the name of the chicken sandwich. Some prep, veggies, desserts could be done at a commissary. Don’t farm it out to secondary vendors. However, there’s the cost of commissary and its employees as well as delivery transportation (even locally). Chain “family restaurants” (e.g., Bob Evans, Perkins, Friendly’s, Shoney’s, Denney’s, HoJo) are a dying/dead breed. Dwarf House probably is a money losing/break-even at best venture. It simply honors Truett Cathy’s original blue collar, conservative roots. Once he dies, Dwarf House will be as dead as he and its veggies.

[...] 30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Chick-fil-A Dwarf House [...]

Baltisraul......

August 15th, 2013
11:23 am

If you enjoy a Hot Brown, somewhere in your life you have stopped in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Theirs is the standard by which all Hot Brown’s are measured.

Baltisraul......

August 15th, 2013
11:26 am

College Park Guy…….Friendly’s is already dead, is it not? Have not seen one in ages.

Munson is dead!

August 15th, 2013
2:18 pm

If you can see green on the fried okra, as you can in your photo, it isn’t over-breaded… numbnuts.

The Bystander

August 15th, 2013
4:14 pm

Love the Chick-fil-A, BBQ sauce.