The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 15, 2010

‘Food Wars’ aims to settle fried-chicken competition

By Greg Grisolano

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A victor has been declared in the war to decide who serves the best fried chicken in Kansas.

But fans who are eager to know whether Chicken Annie’s or Chicken Mary’s, both hometown favorites, emerged victorious in a blind taste test will have to tune in to the Travel Channel’s latest episode of “Food Wars” at 9 p.m. today.

Neither Donna Lipoglav, co-owner of Chicken Annie’s, nor Karen Zerngast, co-owner of Chicken Mary’s, was willing to say which restaurant had the most to crow about over the competition.

“It was very competitive,” Zerngast said in a phone interview Monday. “But I really can’t say more than that.”

Lipoglav said the real answer to which restaurant serves the best chicken cannot be decided by a TV show.

“According to (the show), they will have answered it, but I think probably everybody has their own opinions,” she said. “If (Chicken Mary’s) didn’t have good food, they wouldn’t have been there this long, and it’s the same for us.”

The “Food Wars” segment looks at the history of the two restaurants, and goes behind the scenes at both locations and talks to their respective fans.

Production crews were on location Jan. 15-17 at Chicken Mary’s and Chicken Annie’s.

Both restaurants have been staples of Crawford County cuisine for generations, and they share a common history and location. The two restaurants were started by wives of miners looking to support their families after injuries and illnesses took a toll on their husbands.

Chicken Annie’s was founded in 1934, and Chicken Mary’s opened for business in 1942. The restaurants are within 300 feet of each other, on a stretch of road that runs through what was once a mining camp known as Yale in rural Crawford County.

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