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Stroud’s: Legendary Chicken and More

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Stroud’s, the home of pan-fried chicken, has been serving food in the Kansas City area since 1933. The original location was at 85th and Troost. It currently has three locales: the Northland, Fairway and the recently-opened location in south Overland Park, off 135th Street, just west of I-69 in the former Mimi’s Café spot.

Stroud’s gave the Overland Park building a major facelift. It enlarged the bar area, added several televisions, and upgraded the kitchen for all that pan-fried chicken. It even has a separate entry for carryout orders and it’s equipped to prepare catering orders for up to 500 people. Toward the back are two private event spaces, perfect for special events and holiday parties.

The Troost Room features photos of the original Stroud’s, circa 1930s, when it offered long end ribs for 15 cents and goose livers for 10 cents. It seats 52 people. The Donegan Room features windows on two sides and an entrance to the outdoor patio. It features a variety of photos of longtime owner Mike Donegan and his twin brother Dennis. It seats 60 people. The restaurant also has live piano music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Jim Hogan and Mike Donegan bought Stroud’s longtime location at 85th and Troost in 1977. Donegan became the sole owner in the early 1990s and later moved the restaurant to Fairway after the bridge expansion at 85th and Troost forced demolition of the original building. In October 2013, the locally-owned KC Hopps restaurant became a partner with Donegan with the intention of learning the operation and opening other Stroud’s restaurants. KC Hopps has several area concepts, including Barley’s Brewhaus, Blue Moose, 75th Street Brewery, 810 Zone and O’Dowd’s Little Dublin.

Most people don’t know that Stroud’s started out as a barbecue restaurant in the 1930s. It has been stated that the restaurant and watering hole was opened by the Strouds to take advantage of the end of Prohibition, which officially occurred Dec. 5, 1933. During World War II, beef was rationed, and the owners had to get inventive with the menu. They switched the barbecue menu and focused mainly on pan-fried chicken. A chicken dinner was priced at 35 cents. Helen Stroud hired two Southern women, whose recipe for pan-fried chicken vaulted Stroud’s into its legendary status.

By the 1960s, Stroud’s became the family dining destination. The old shack with the uneven sloping wooden floor, oak bar, crooked window frames and upright piano in the corner expanded, and so had its reputation as Kansas City’s place to go for fried chicken dinner.

The menu isn’t extensive here. You know what you’re going to get before you hit the door. The servers roll out the same pan-fried chicken, cottage fries or mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and mouth-watering cinnamon rolls. And people love this traditional food and keep coming back for more.

If you must go with a healthy choice, there’s a luncheon salad, an entree salad for dinner, or maybe you want the popular chicken noodle soup with a salad. There’s also the fresh, broiled salmon or a broiled pork chop instead of the pan-fried breaded chop. The lunch menu portions are also smaller.

This is the kind of food that most of us grew up with during Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house, and, if you’re like me, you don’t get it much anymore. So it truly is a treat to indulge occasionally on fried food like chicken or gizzards, creamy mashed potatoes and peppery gravy and those scrumptious cinnamon rolls.

The Stroud’s t-shirts with the brand slogan, “We Choke Our Own Chickens,” were so popular at one point that they were popping up around the country. The slogan even became copyrighted.

Stroud’s affiliation with KC Hopps has netted some positive outcomes. In addition to your meal, you can now pair it with custom craft beers or cocktails. The Chicken Choker Ale is a wheat beer made by 75th Street Brewery. The Funky Chicken cocktail combines sweet tea vodka, lemonade, cranberry juice and ginger ale. It is a colorful drink and a perfect choice for holiday season.

Come hungry when you visit Stroud’s, and wear your comfy pants. You’ll cuss yourself for eating so much on the way out the door, but the memory of the tastiest chicken in town will leave you thinking about the next time you can come back.

Stroud’s does not accept reservations for regular dining, only for group parties. So if you’re planning a weekend dinner visit, go early or plan to wait at the bar for a bit before you’re seated. Or, you can always opt for carryout.

     Visit one of Stroud’s three locations in the greater KC metro: Stroud’s Fairway, 4200 Shawnee Mission Parkway, 913-262-8500; Stroud’s Overland Park, 8301 West 135th Street, 913-499-0135; and Stroud’s Northland, 5410 NE Oak Ridge Drive, Kansas City, Missouri, 815-454-9600. The website,, takes you to all three.