Thursday, March 29, 2007
Quick review: Zaxby's
Chicken rules the roost at this quick-casual restaurant near Valley View Mall.
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Jeanna Duerscherl | The Roanoke Times
Well-spaced tables dot Zaxby's dining room, which is decked with old-fashioned posters and signs.
This quick-casual restaurant specializes in chicken and cooks all items to order. Self-service rules the roost, and this means when your check number is announced over the loudspeaker, your meal is ready for pick-up. Friendly servers step in and deliver trays to tables when there's congestion at the counter. Roomy booths are along the walls and well-spaced tables dot the interior of the dining room. Amid old-fashioned posters and wooden signs, you'll find a Marcus Vick jersey, NASCAR cards, UVA banners, an old photo of a VMI graduate and autographed pictures of wrestlers at big meets during the early days of the Roanoke Civic Center.
Select from likable chicken items prepared in every favorite style. This includes neatly layered chicken sandwiches on soft buns with seasoned crinkle fries and a Buffalo wings meal with fries and celery and carrot sticks surrounding a bowl of Ranch dressing. There's a range of salads featuring fried or grilled chicken on an abundance of fresh, tasty lettuce; a chicken finger sandwich meal; and the limited-time special, which is the bourbon chicken sandwich meal (available until Sunday).
Menu prices range from $4.99 to $6.59, and the average check runs $8 to $9.
What I tried
Salads --even those spelled with a "z" -- lure me, and here it was the House Zalad, which featured tender, moist grilled chicken pieces on a heaping bed of crunchy mixed lettuces. Texas toast smeared with garlic-herb butter and a generously filled cup of Italian vinaigrette came on the side ($5.99). Because I was on assignment, I also surrendered to a Meal Dealz of chicken fingers, fries, Texas toast and a regular soda ($4.99).
A decent-sized slice of smooth, tangy, New York-style cheesecake plus a cup of the best strong coffee I've had in a restaurant in a long time turned out to be a sophisticated finish to an inexpensive meal.
If I go back, I'll order ...
Zaxby's Club Basket, featuring a picture-perfect sandwich made with fried chicken, bacon, American cheese, leaf lettuce and sliced tomatoes, all on Texas toast smeared with garlic-mayonnaise. A pile of those delicious, seasoned fries fills up the basket ($5.39).
My only reservation in making a return trip is that they didn't keep up with cleaning the tables on the day of my visit. I initially went at 1:30, after the lunch hour crush, and I couldn't find a clean table. All displayed various degrees of grime, grease and food. I finally wet my napkin with water and wiped off one side of a table before sitting down to eat. Furthermore, the pail in the disposal chute had been removed before I arrived, and I discovered this -- to my horror -- as I scraped off my plate into the empty bin.
(Star ratings are reserved for reviews based on multiple visits.)
Address: 2909 Ordway Drive, just off I-581 at Hershberger Road, Roanoke
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week
Opened: December 2006
Soda products: Coca-Cola
Plastic? Visa, MasterCard, American Express
Patio seating? No
Wireless Internet? No
Live music? No
Catering? Freshly prepared party platters are ready for pick-up when you want them.
Banquet space? No
“Kidz” menu includes chicken fingers and grilled cheese sandwiches