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April 28, 2013

Eats & Drinks Review: Finger Lickin' Salmonella

Cheesers, I'm not really sure why I'm torturing you with this, but I think restaurant reviews are the only thing we haven't managed to do over here at your one-stop geek-shop. Until now, that is. And, for the record, no one should love that chicken from... good God, I can't even type the name without getting queasy. The following story is all true... except for the part that I walked for two blocks. That's far.

It all began innocently enough. I stepped off of the Chicago EL train and walked down the chilly block, my breath exploding in front of my face from the frigid winter air. I was on my way, taking my time, visiting a friend on her lunch break. We’ll call her Tanya, and attempt to keep the innocent, well… innocent. Tanya had just begun her new job, a shift manager’s position at Popeye’s Chicken. Now, normally, I wasn’t a huge fast food chicken fan (I lean to the semi-safer burger and fries crowd), but wanted to be supportive and see how Tanya’s first day was going. Oh, and try and score some free soda.

Two blocks later and I had finally arrived at the Popeye’s Chicken in beautiful downtown Chicago. The windows of this particular establishment were clouded over, indicating the restaurant was full of hungry patrons. I reached for the door when, suddenly, I heard my name being called.


Mildly surprised I turned to find Tanya standing on the corner. He eyes were wide and she looked like someone had walked over her grave.

“Am I late?” I asked. I could have sworn her break didn’t start until 3:30, a full 10 minutes from the current time. Tanya shook her head violently. Something was definitely wrong, “Are you ok?”

Tanya motioned for me to follow her and she started down the busy sidewalk.

“I quit,” she said after a long silent moment.
“What? Why!?”
“You don’t want to know,” was her cryptic answer.

We finally stopped walking and sat on a bus stop bench. I pulled out two cigarettes, one for each of us, and I asked Tanya again why she left. She took a deep breath and said:

“It isn’t safe there.”
Confused, wondering how a chicken restaurant could be unsafe, I stared at Tanya.

“Did you get hurt or something, cause if you did…”
Tanya cut me off.

“It’s not safe for the people that eat there.”

My eyes narrowed and I started to get the drift.

One of Tanya’s first duties that day was to assist in restocking the various chicken parts in the freezer. Evidently, a shipment had recently arrived from whoever supplied the chicken parts. The cases must be opened and a general inspection must be made. Tanya opened a case only to find chicken that had begun to turn green. Since green isn’t a normal “chicken color” and Tanya is a bright girl, she immediately informed the manager that was training her. The manger arrived, took a cursory look at the chicken and said, ‘Don’t worry, when we cook it no one will know the difference.’
Mmmm. Finger lickin’ salmonella.

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