Thursday, May 6, 2010

RC's Restaurant & Lounge

Totally fowl.

I love fried chicken. Two weeks before Guys’ Night we chose RC’s Restaurant & Lounge as our destination, and immediately an internal countdown started in my head. Unfortunately, what the evening had in store for me was the worst fried chicken I’ve ever had ever.

Shaw, Dorsett, Adam and I all showed up at RC’s at about 7 p.m., and unanimously agreed we were ready to crush some fried chicken. As we entered the massive red and white building, we noticed a sign outside advertising the Chicken for Four special ($31.95). Ten pieces of chicken and sides -- perfect.

RC’s was bustling and looked to be doing some good business when we were seated in the wood-paneled dining room, the background music soundtracking us with '80s pop like Howard Jones and Billy Joel. (Man, I can't stand Billy Joel.)

Checking out the menu, it didn’t take any of us much convincing that we should also get some wings ($7.95). Then we added on a plate of livers and gizzards ($7.95), which did require a little bit of convincing from me and Adam to Shaw and Dorsett.

Our server came by to take our order. Asking us what kind of salad we’d like with our chicken dinners, she told us our options were Italian and something else that I couldn’t understand either of the times I asked her to repeat herself. Ultimately, I just went with Italian, although later I wondered if I should’ve rolled the dice and said, “I’ll take the second one.”

The appetizers arrived, and they were thoroughly underwhelming. The sauce on the wings had combined with the breading to create a spongy coating. As for the livers and gizzards, they were oddly flavorless. Coming with a standard cocktail sauce plus some gravy that didn’t have much of a taste beyond floury, the livers and gizzards didn’t even have that much use for dipping.

Shortly thereafter we got our salads, closely followed by the rest of our food. With the Chicken for Four, you get four breasts, two legs, two thighs and two wings, as well as mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and biscuits.

Each of us started with a breast, which was instantly forgettable. They looked delicious, but like the livers and gizzards, didn’t taste like anything. Our sides weren’t any better -- both the mashed potatoes and green beans were bland, and the biscuit was a rock. Even though the salad wasn’t particularly special, bafflingly it turned out to be the high point of my meal.

Up until now, RC’s had just been one big disappointment -- win some, lose some, no big deal. However, we still had six pieces of chicken left. And while everybody else decided to pass, I figured I might as well give RC’s one more shot, and picked up a drumstick.

That’s where the experience irreparably fell apart.

Biting into the drumstick was what I imagine sinking my teeth into wet paper mache might be like -- sticky and chewy and wrong. I’m not sure what it tasted like, only that it didn’t taste like food.

During the hour or so it took us to eat, the dining room had emptied out. We paid our bill, and unable to muster the enthusiasm to think of different places to go, headed upstairs to RC’s Back Door Bar & Grill, so named because the bar’s main entrance is on the rear of the building.

“Land of Confusion” by Genesis was playing when we walked in the Back Door Bar, making it seem kind of like the ‘80s music was following us throughout the building, except this version was a remake by Disturbed. I choose to believe that no matter what song is playing in the main restaurant, a nu-metal cover of it is blasting upstairs.

Tonight’s special was $1 PBRs, so at least we could have some cheap beers. After spotting a "Test Your Strength" punching machine, having learned a valuable lesson at our last Guys’ Night, we took the table farthest away from it despite the fact there weren't that many people at the Back Door Bar.

Shaw pointed out a nearby patron eating a club sandwich, and we all concurred we would’ve rather had that than the fried chicken. Eventually we realized we were talking exclusively about how much we didn’t like this place, so we decided to cut our losses and call it a night.

Look, here at Lunch Blog, we take no satisfaction out of giving a place the thumbs down. RC’s has been around since the early ‘70s and it looked like there were a lot of regulars in there, so it’s got to have something going for it. Hopefully our experience was just a fluke -- if you’ve been to RC’s, we’d love to hear what you thought of the place.
330 East 135th Street | Martin City, MO 64145 R C's Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm a third generation patron of the Van Noy family restaurants and I agree completely that RC's underwhelms. My family are Jess & Jim's veterans and it's one of our favorite dives to get an gigantic steak—but every once in a while we get the itch to head next door to RC's and we're also scratching our heads afterwards going "whose idea was this?" Sure, J&J's is super expensive and the quality has had ups and downs over the years and now you have to ask for the beets, crackers and butter that I grew up munching on but it's still a great steack and takes me back to being about 5 years old. Side note, when I was a kid going there I would never get steak, I'd always get the fried chicken. I haven't had J&J chicken since I was about 10, but I'd bet it's better than RC's too.

  2. From today's Star...

    During a routine inspection Wednesday, the Kansas City Health Department temporarily closed R.C.’s Restaurant and Back Door Lounge, 330 E. 135th St. The 18 critical violations included live roach activity in the kitchen and plumbing issues.

    The restaurant was inspected again Thursday. An inspector said it was clear the restaurant had worked on the problems through the night. The restaurant had one critical violation on the pests and was allowed to reopen.

    "We addressed every one of the issues, and we addressed every one by 10 a.m. May the 6th," said owner David Van Noy.

  3. ::reads previous comment::

    Augh! AUUUUGGGHHHH! Ok, it's been a few days since you ate there, Robert...are you ok? Or did the roaches come back to bite ya?

  4. Faith -- thanks so much for your concern! I think I'm going to make it, mostly on account of the umpteen rounds of $1 PBRs. Truly a magical elixir.

  5. So after reading this I decided to try this chicken. I walked in the building and was greeted by a lovely hostess and was immediately sat in the bar area. The lounge was cozy and warm with t.v.'s everywhere. I was immediately greeted by a lovely girl named Kelly. She made our drinks with a generous pour and then took our order. We tried the chicken for 2 and got 5 pieces of chicken with endless mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and biscuits. Our salad was very crisp and green. The Roquefort dressing was to die for. After the meal we enjoyed a homemade apple cobbler that even my deceased grandmother couldn't match. Over all the dining was absolutely wonderful. We then went up stairs and were served by a male bartender by the name of Chris that told us on Monday's it was 3 dollar you call it drinks. It was dead upstairs but Chris opened up the pool tables for us to help entertain ourselves. Overall I would suggest that you gentlemen give RC's another chance!