Smiler Gourmet Deli Fills The Void Left By Piece Of Chicken

It was a sad day when Piece of Chicken closed: The last vestige of the New Orleans style restaurant Jezebel. The small take out window provided west-siders with $1-2 fried chicken, livers, collards, waffles and mac & cheese. It was a godsend after a few pitchers at Rudy’s bar (or many of the 9th Avenue dives) and was also a great inexpensive lunch option in Midtown. However, when one door closes another opens, and Smiler Gourmet Deli (on 9th Ave at 45th) located on the opposite corner of the former POC has begun to promote their “Crunchy Chicken,” taking advantage of the locals need to grab something satisfying that is both fast and easy. The special is four pieces for $2.99. That is even cheaper then POC! I had to check it out.

I asked one of the managers behind the counter if it was a new item, only added now because Piece of Chicken had closed, he laughingly said yes. Smart move if you ask me.

The chicken is kept warm under a heat lamp -understandable given this is a market not a restaurant, and available starting at 11am until it’s gone.

The drumsticks were big and meaty.

The meat was moist enough, and the crispy coating was salty and well seasoned. Certainly not the same as POC, but good for fried food from a market. I’d put it just above the $1 chicken you get at 2 Bros.

The deli counter has a ton of sides like coleslaw, roasted veggies and potato salad. Add a couple of sides and this is hungry-man sized meal at a poor man’s price.

Smilers Market & Deli, 637 9th Ave at 45th, (212) 582-5550


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