The Dish: Clucker’s Charcoal Chicken


Carter Horan

The Dish is a multimedia food review segment co-produced by Will Davis and Carter Horan. Each week, they will travel to a North Shore restaurant to try, discuss, and evaluate the eats in and around Lake Forest.

On the west side of Sheridan road lies the infamous Clucker’s in all of its pride and glory. You may have have observed the mystical Chicken truck around Lake Forest, The Dish: Clucker's Charcoal Chickenknown for its giant chicken head on top of the vehicle (pictured left). This is one of Clucker’s staple marks for their business, a triple-play restaurant that offers delivery, carry out, and a sit-down experience. The Highwood location is just one of two, while the other lies in downtown Libertyville. The spot is busy all the time, and their reliability for quality chicken is always trusted. From the research we have done, it seems like there is no other place in the area quite like Clucker’s. Their diverse menu includes many different chicken dishes, Mexican dishes, and even burgers. All of these options makes Clucker’s a very unique spot in its own right.

Affordability 6/10:  

When it comes to affordability, Clucker’s presented very quality food for a fairly reasonable price. The chicken is slow-roasted and is of the highest caliber which made the $26 price tag doable. In addition to the cajun crispy chicken sandwich and barnyard burger that we ordered, we also got a side order of fries, homemade chips, and two fountain drinks. It’s hard to compare the prices of Clucker’s to that of other chicken restaurants because its food tends to be of a higher quality than restaurants like Popeye’s or Chick-Fil-A. However, we both truly felt like the chicken was delicately fried and the burger was cooked to perfection, which made us feel totally content with paying $26. Overall, though $26 would typically be a pretty hefty price tag for one of the restaurants that we like to go to, just how satisfying the food was made it reasonable.

Environment: 7/10

Nothing special or ostentatious here in north Highwood, but Cluckers easily gets the job done in the environment department. Littered with chickens, Clucker’s embraces the culture and shows off their love for chicken with a giant sculpture in the lobby. One thing we were surprised about was the fact that Clucker’s still had their Christmas lights up in mid-February, but regardless, they looked wonderful. The entire restaurant is appealing, especially with their visual display of the giant chicken roaster directly behind the front counter. It not only exemplifies the quality of the chicken they serve, but gets the customer licking their chops one step in the door. Light alternative music played as we enjoyed our meal and just a single TV presented the nightly news. The setting in Clucker’s was just above-average with their unique style; a special soda machine or seating area could’ve put it above the edge.

Food Quality: 9/10

Far and away, the food we received at Clucker’s was the most impressive thing that we experienced on our trip. Both the Cajun Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Barnyard Burger were cooked exactly how we wanted, and our sides complimented the dishes perfectly. The chicken was breaded deliciously and topped with a melted slice of cheddar cheese, a tangy and creamy special sauce, and some crisp lettuce shreds. The burger was cooked to a nice medium-well and was then completed with a slice of american cheese and a flavorful sesame seed bun. When it comes to sides, Clucker’s also lived up to our expectations. The fries were terrific due to their nice, crisp texture, and saltiness. It was also clear to see that the homemade chips were fresh and served straight out of the fryer. In total, the food that was served to us at Clucker’s was exceptional due to its fresh and flavorful nature. We would definitely recommend going there whenever you are in need of any type of chicken dish.

Service: 8/10

Our initial impression on Clucker’s was not the same way we ended our visit. Walking through the front door, camera out, the single worker gave us an unusual glare that couldn’t have been more awkward. As I lowered the camera we began to explain our food reviews and the process of filming/rating the different categories of the business. The worker was extremely sincere and polite once he understood what we were doing. He was even nice enough to let us walk into the kitchen a take a video of their chicken roaster. Our food arrived in 11 minutes, slightly longer than other outlets we have visited.

Spear Rating: 3 SPEARS (out of 4)