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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Stopping by the road on a summer evening

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It took us almost six years to stop. Every time we drove an hour to the Detroit airport or to Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor - the first 30 minutes on country roads - we passed by the Genuine Broaster Chicken place that also sells ice cream. "What's Broaster Chicken?" I asked myself somewhere in my parietal lobe as we curved out of town. If I'd known it's a fancy method for frying chicken, I would have slammed on the brakes long before this.

Our waitress, who talked with us a while, explained how Broaster Chicken is cooked. This is a specific brand, and vendors buy their chicken, mixes and machines directly from the company. First the chicken is marinated in Broaster's special mix, then deep fried in their special pressure cooker ". . . in the chicken's own natural juices, limiting the absorption of cooking oil and driving the marinade deep down to the bone while searing the chicken with a golden, crispy-crunch coating."


Ahhhhh. Did I say I love fried chicken? I think this is the best I've eaten.








































To top off the salivary heaven, we sure enjoyed chatting with the owner Doug Mills, as well as with the waitress (the lady smiling in the photo with model cars, above). Doug is not describing the size of a fish he caught but his gorgeous flower plantings and how our chilly summer has inhibited growth. He also explained how he's been fixing the place up like a genuine diner.






My mom, who moved from metro NY to the South when she married Dad, would mimic Southerners who appreciate good-but-not-always-healthy food, "sometimes I just need somethin' FRAHed." It may not be the healthiest, but once in a while, aahhhh. Stage Stop's Broaster Chicken is a short ten minute drive from the farm. Don't worry, I'll try to limit myself to no more than once a month. I wonder if this really was a stage stop back in the day, since it is on one of the oldest roads in Michigan.

Both times we've eaten at the Stage Stop, Mr. Mills the proprietor has been busy weeding outside, which explains his dirty dungarees in the photo below.




I think when Doug painted his restaurant these colors he had ice cream in mind. The ice cream I chose to balance out the savory chicken? Moose tracks.






Begonia ice:



Stage Stop Broaster Chicken
Stockbridge, MI

64 comments:

Stiggy said...

How nice to see places local to you - there's a group challenge there if ever I saw one!

I always find seeing how other countries live fascinating!

:D

Susan said...

What a cool restaurant! I love retro, but sometimes the food doesn't always live up to it's image. It's great that this one does.

Did you know that KFC is broasted chicken?

Sometimes I just have to have something "frahd", too. :)

Ruthie, you haven't had my fried chicken!

Susan said...

Oh, I forgot, Moose Tracks is one of my favorite ice cream flavors! Are you surprised?

PurestGreen said...

What glorious photos! I love the gleam off the cars, and the old fashioned diner booths. This is just the kind of place I would like to visit.

ellen abbott said...

Colorful building? Beautiful flowers? That's enough for me right there to eat there.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Now that is the sight of summer...and I'm thinking only about a 6 hour drive from here. Plenty of time to bring home some chicken for dinner tonight:>)

Kat said...

It is interesting to hear about local places like this one. Loved all the photos too and the flowers are so uplifting! Enough for me to stop by for sure. Thanks for sharing.

João said...

it looks like like Doug and the chicken factory...
the other day i got myself a real farm chicken, I boiled it with orange, orange juice, salt, cinammon and an hot pepper. afterwards i put it in the oven with rice, serve and band it volatilize into thin air.
Heaven.
(really love your country)

NJ said...

I've seen the roadside signs in the past for broasted chicken and for some reason always thought it was a combination of broiling and roasting. What a shock! I would never have thought it was fried. It looks like a cool restaurant.

Ingrid said...

Thank you for this posting, Ruth. We pass this restaurant when we head to our cottage. I've always wondered if we should stop. It's now on the "to-do" list!

lesleyanne said...

i've totally noticed that restaurant before! dad pointed it out when we were driving to the airport, said that chicken was amazing. it's so quaint and classic! just perfect. i'm listening to Billy Holiday while i write this, and it's just so fitting. :) what a great phone conversation today, i really loved it. and i love you mommy.

rauf said...

i would never stop Ruth, if i am alone, my favourite eating place has always been home. Just for a change ? No, i don't even answer. ice cream ? yes, i love ice creams, but none in particular, any ice cream any place is fine. But i have this weakness for very old places, where the idea is to give you the pleasure of eating. Not many left now. They all have been torn down and very commercial, well lit, shiny eating places of glass and steel have taken over. In other places like Hyderabad Jaipur Bombay or Delhi, if i find any old, smokey, sleepy eating place, i walk in and never regretted, yes Mysore, there is one place i like and Sujith loved it too. i am glad some eating places with attitude and character are still around in Michigan specially in East Lansing and Ann Arbor where i would like to step in. These pictures have captured soul of such traditional places.
Don't know when they would be swallowed by the giants.

i have two dungrees Ruth. i think Bennette had them too.

CottageGirl said...

Right off the bat, the flowers in front of the restaurant got me! If somebody is putting that much effort into the blossoms, they surely must be cookin' somethin' good in the kitchen!

(Our favorite local restaurant also does a great broasted chicken. Consistantly good! YUMM-ME!)

But seeing the inside ... How cute is that! Leave your troubles outside and come on in! How could you not be happy in a place that looks like that ...AND has great fried chicken and Moosetracks to boot!

Thanks for taking us with you!!

ds said...

Wow!! The flowers, the colors, the cool tabletop jukebox (staple of diners everywhere),the generous owners, the chicken that looks YUM...but you can get MOOSETRACKS?!!! If i left now, I could maybe make tomorrow's dinner service (my luck, they're closed tomorrow)...
Very Pavlovian post, Ruth.;)

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Oh Lordy....A whole sea between me and that delish looking "fried chook!!!!"
That whole place looks so fun and yum!
And the owner looks like a guy who would be sure you had all you needed!

Barry said...

What a great (and tasty) discovery to make.

You're right, sometimes you just gotta have something fried! Preferably deep fried.

renaye said...

better than kentucky fried chicken?? there a few chains that sell something like KFC but they always lose to kfc.

alice said...

And what did you choose on the juke box?

Leena said...

I really hope, this owner has your blog address - you gave it to him, didn`t you :)
I can not be without smiling, you make a wonderful story about everything, you want.

The photo from flowers and gladly painted house is just cheerful.

Have a happily good week, Ruth!

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, beautiful photos. You make the place look so inviting. The interior shots are lovely,the way you cropped and matted them.Really could be in a magazine.
Hmm broasted chicken I think it's very similar to fried? My husbands family enjoys it.
My friend and I went to lansing the week and visited with her son,an MSU student, we took Grand River home,at least I think it was? We ate lunch in Williamston at a relly great resturant,of course the name escapes me at the moment. Anyway it had great food,the antique stores were great as well.

Back to your post, the Gentleman had quite an eye for color,with his gardens and all.

Babs-beetle said...

Well, a little bit of unhealthy food does you no harm at all, and it looks very tasty, I must say. The ice cream also looks very tasty, though I've never heard of peanut butter in ice cream. Not in the UK anyway.

I notice you were in Stockbridge. Just a two minute walk from our house and we are in Stocksbridge, though we don't have a lovely Broaster there.

Arti said...

Do they do mail order? Ship some to a fried chicken lover here in Alberta, Canada please... high up in the Rockies. Ice cream and fried chicken, Southern style... yum!! Wonderful pics Ruth!

caroldiane said...

I remember a similar sign near my family's vacation spot in the Okanagan in British Columbia. We never stopped either, and now I am wishing we had one close by - mmm, mmm!!

Oliag said...

I definitely would have guessed broiled and roasted:)

The bright fanciful colors of this place would have drawn me right in (not to mention the ice cream)...these photos are wonderful and it looks like Mr Mills is happy to pose and rightfully proud of his place...Were you uncomfortable taking pictures there?...I'm always uncomfortable taking pics in a public place...

Your last post and this one remind me that in the summer of 1969 I was very busy selling "Chubby Chicken" as a carhop at an A&W Rootbeer stand...that was probably broasted too:)

Ruth said...

Stiggy, did you know you said the perfect thing? I hemmed and hawed about posting this, and I decided to do it for exactly the reason you stated: to show something in our community. I enjoy it when others do it too. Thank you, man!

Ruth said...

Susie, dear. No I did not know KFC is broasted chicken. And no, I don't think I've had your fried chicken. I have no doubt that it is delicious. My sister Nanny used to make fried chicken with rosemary that sent me to the moon. I would beg her to let me babysit the nights she made it.

As for Moosetracks, that was my first time! Usually I get something with Heathbar.

Ruth said...

Good, PurestGreen! And Edinburgh is just the place I would like to visit right now. Our daughter and her new husband just returned from their honeymoon there! Lesley had her picture taken with the Loch Ness monster!

Ruth said...

Ellen, wish I could remember what this place looked like for the last 6 years. I don't think it stood out, and suddenly, it was like a mirage! But it didn't disappear when we pulled in, thank goodness. I was hungry!

Ruth said...

Come on, Distracted! I'll put your order in. How many?

Ruth said...

Kat, I trust you get all the fried or broaster chicken you want in Alabama. I agree that eating it at a sweet place like Stage Stop makes it even more satisfying.

Ruth said...

João, those flavors sound exotic, must be quite heavenly.

I think it would be great fun to go on a road trip across this country. Route 66. How about a caravan, with lots of friends from around the world?

Ruth said...

NJ, I don't feel so ignorant now, thank you. Good to know I wasn't alone. I am trying hard not to go to Stage Stop every week. I know it wouldn't be good for me.

Ruth said...

Hi, Ingrid, if you see us there, introduce yourself! :) I don't know what you look like.

Ginnie said...

Don't you just love finding dives like this, Ruth. Next time I'm there, you'll have to take me! :) I don't know when was the last time I ate fried chicken, so once in a blue moon won't kill me. How fun!

Ruth said...

rauf, the old places with dark wood and worn floors are soothing, and it seems that if they've been around a long time, there are reasons. But eating at home is the healthiest and cheapest, generally, and you are most fortunate to have wonderful cooks in your sisters. I confess most of the time when I want to eat out it is from laziness.

Yes, Bennett wore Wranglers always, until he discovered Lees. He would wear the same style, I don't know how many pairs he had.

Ruth said...

Oh,CottageGirl, we had so much fun our first visit there. We were soaking it all in. These pictures are from our first of two visits so far. There were only a couple other booths occupied that day, it was a weekday. Next time we went every table and booth were filled.

I hope Doug's establishment keeps doing well. The waitress (I didn't ask her name) said they sell A LOT of chicken orders - many come in and pick it up.

shoreacres said...

I've never heard of Moose Tracks ice cream (is it a flavor or a brand?) but broasted chicken? I didn't realize you still could find it.

I grew up eating broasted chicken and broasted potatoes - wonderful, thick, hand-cut french fries - in central Iowa. The Cardinal Cafe had the one broasting machine in town, and it was always busy.

The Cardinal wasn't as classy as this diner. There weren't any flowers, and you had to perch on stools. But it was attached to Stockton's grocery, and kids could sit and slurp malts and eat broasted potatoes while parents shopped.

I just called Mom to tell her broasters still exist. Her question: "Where do you think the closest one is?" Pilgrimage may take on a whole new meaning!

Loring Wirbel said...

I learned from that NPR food show (name escapes me now) that the way to do succulent kebab or shawrma chicken is to brine it first for four hours - 1/2 gallon of super cold water, 2/3 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and then marinate it. Can't wait to try it!

Ruth said...

DS, DING DING!! :D

I think we could have quite a fete with all the folks coming over to Stage Stop! I'd love to have you join me.

Ruth said...

Hey there, Cupcakes, I would love it if you joined the parade over here. We could fill the restaurant, all of us on this page, and wouldn't that be fun. Then we could camp out on the farm and have a Woodstock.

Ruth said...

Barry, grease makes everything taste better. Until it doesn't.

Ruth said...

Renaye, I find KFC delicious, but it has too much breading for me. This broaster chicken is lighter.

Ruth said...

Dear Alice, bonjour. We did not play a song. :| There was only one other table with customers, they were elderly, and we felt it would disturb their quiet. That was the first visit. On the second visit, others had already put quarters in the jukebox, and we decided to just listen. I don't remember what was playing, but I might have picked "I walk the line" by Johnny Cash if we'd picked.

Ruth said...

Leena, I like to show you our normal life here in Michigan.

I just looked at your late evening sunset in Finland, and I feel soothed. You find and create such beauty.

Ruth said...

Cathy, thank you!

Yes, yes, it is fried actually. But it's in a pressure cooker, and apparently the oil doesn't get absorbed as much as with conventional deep frying.

I love driving Grand River all across Michigan. In Williamston, did you eat at the Red Cedar Grill? That's where we ate Lesley & Brian's rehearsal dinner.

Ruth said...

Babs, I love to hear about your neck of the woods too. Stocksbridge.

No peanut butter in ice cream? If my nephew's wife doesn't have any Moosetracks on hand, she just takes bites of peanut butter with vanilla ice cream. We Americans are a bit obsessed with peanut butter.

Ruth said...

Arti, you could join the caravan over here, I'd love it. Broasted chicken and ice cream, and then we could all walk back to the farm to keep our arteries clean. Or not.

Ruth said...

Caroldiane, another reason for me to get to BC. One of these days, I have to. But goodness, it's a long way from here. I can tell it's worth it though.

Ruth said...

Oliag, thanks for asking about taking Doug's picture. I've always been shy about doing that too. Sometime recently - I don't even know when it happened - I was suddenly determined to get more people pictures. And I decided just to ask. So in the restaurant first thing I asked the waitress if I could take pictures, and she said sure! Then when we saw Doug, I asked if he'd mind me taking his photo for a blog, and he only didn't want to be wearing his dirty dungarees, and that is why I mentioned it in the post, to honor that.

Ohh, A&W rootbeer stand. Now you are taking me back. We had a wonderful A&W drive-in in our hometown of Grand Ledge. Ahhhh. So fun in the summer.

Ruth said...

Boots, yes, but I can't call this one a "dive"! :) And yes, I'll take you there next time. A little greasy chicken won't hurt you, especially since you probably wouldn't have it again for another 10 years.

Ruth said...

Linda, I didn't realize until I googled Moose Tracks that it must be an original flavor by the Denali brand. I had never even heard of Denali ice cream before. And this was my first time eating Moose Tracks.

Oh yes, I didn't mention the broasted potatoes! We had a choice of potatoes, and I chose the wedges, which are broasted with the chicken. How perfect is that?

You and your mom are welcome to join the caravan to the Stage Stop. Maybe we should have a stagecoach caravan. Now wouldn't that be a blast!

Ruth said...

Loring, wow, I never thought of brining kebabs, brilliant. We have brined Thanksgiving turkeys, with terrific results. The flavor of the outer layer is just phenomenal, and as you say, it remains moist.

Loring Wirbel said...

"The Splendid Table," that's the show where they mentioned it.

dutchbaby said...

, "sometimes I just need somethin' FRAHed." That slays me! Believe it or not, we saw a sign for broaster chicken in Botswana.

Love the checkerboard borders on your photos, Ruth. I hope you played a few tunes on that jukebox.

photowannabe said...

This just isn't fair. Now my tummy is growling. You have found my kind of place and with ice cream to top it all off.
Maybe it will be on the Food Channel on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Jeanie said...

What a wonderful spot! When we finally get together for lunch, I need directions! It's 3:30 and my red pepper lunch isn't holding me!

Mark said...

Thought this might be of interest ... the names Broaster and Broasted are actually registered trademarks of The Broaster Company in Beloit, Wisconsin, which manufacturers the pressure fryers and marinade and breading used to give Broaster Chicken (aka broasted chicken), as served at Stage Stop, its uniquely delicious taste.

KFC is known to use pressure fryers as well; however, Broaster Chicken is soaked in a proprietary marinade before being pressure fried. The marinade ensures that the flavor is in the meat right down to the bone. With many other types of chicken, all of the flavor is in the breading. As a result, Broaster Chicken uses a lighter coating of breading, which results in lower carbs, fewer calories, and less fat than KFC chicken and other national brands. Broaster has a nutritional information chart in pdf format on its web site which provides a nutritional comparison with KFC chicken. (Go to Nutritional Comparison Chart.)

The Broaster pressure frying process ensures that the chicken cooks in its own juices, thereby greatly reducing absorption of the oil it is cooked in. Typical deep fat open fryers, by contrast, tend to boil the natural juices out of the chicken and release them into the air. When the natural juices boil out, the oil goes in to fill the space that was occupied by the juices and that is what can make other kinds of fried chicken dry or greasy.

For those of you wondering where you can find Broaster Chicken in your area, the Broaster web site includes a store locator where you can put in your zip code and it will give you all of the locations within a 30-mile radius of that zip code which serve Broaster Chicken. (Go to Store Locator)

Sandy said...

What a fun post to read and that chicken looks great as does the place they cook it at. Just remember, why limit such a "joy" in life. I've often felt it is the attitude about what you are eating more than the nutrients in what you are eating. If you eat in joy, joy is what goes into your body. I like to believe that anyway.

Ruth said...

Loring, oh yes! I love Lynn Rosetta Casper. She is such a comfort and cracks me up too.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, whoa, I wonder if it was the official Broaster chicken in Botswana, haha.

We didn't play tunes the first time because we were afraid of disturbing the one other table of older folks. :|

Ruth said...

Oh, Sue, I've never seen that show. Sounds fun!

Ruth said...

Ha, Jeanie, well this is quite a ways off the beaten track for us in E. Lansing. But it might be worth the drive!

Ruth said...

Well, Mark, I sure do appreciate your explanation and distinctions. That is very helpful and informative.

Ruth said...

A wonderful thought, Sandy, I'll remember that.