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Best kept secret in Richmond, Virginia: Fried chicken in kitchen at Valero

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Valero is one of the largest gas retailers with over 6,500 locations in 35 states. However, Valero offers more than gas. In the back of some Valero stores is a kitchen. Served in the kitchen is fried chicken with its own recipe. Other items on the menu include potato wedges, mac and cheese, broccoli casserole, cauliflowers, other vegetables and fixings as well as apple cobbler. Chicken livers and chicken gizzards are available on Tuesday and Thursday and are served as long as they last.

This writer went to Valero on Thursday to find out more about this since she had not heard about it before. She found out when she went to the closest Valero to her on Midlothian Turnpike and LaBrook Drive that particular store did not have a kitchen. She was told to go to the Valero on Warwick Road and Hull Street which was not that far away. The clerk told her that the one in Mechanicsville is the best one.

The clerk raved about how good the chicken is. She said that it is good hot or cold. When this writer mentioned to the clerk that this must be the best kept secret in Richmond, she jokingly said "Yes, but don't tell others so there will still be enough for us."

Arriving at the Valero on Hull Street, people were waiting because as soon as the chicken is cooked, people buy it. The wait was about 20 minutes, but people in line said it was worth the wait. This writer waited and talked to the people in line to get their opinions. Everyone enjoyed the chicken and admitted they had never tasted anything like it. Most of the people must go there often because the waitress knew what the regulars usually order.

If you intend to try the chicken at Valero, here are some things that might be helpful.

First of all, it's not Valero's chicken even though it is sold in their establishment. It is catered by a company named Red's Catering. It must be a private company because no information was found on the web about it. It appears as though the kitchen just rents space in Valero. The chicken box had no address or link to a web. The bags were generic with no information on them. There were no flyers with information, so you find out about this by word of mouth or by accident.

A person must order through the kitchen, pay at Valero's counter and go back to the kitchen to pick up food and give waitress the receipt. This writer wasn't aware of this and waited for a while before going through this process.

You might not want to go on your lunch hour or when you are in a hurry because there is usually a wait. Go on Tuesday or Thursday if you want livers and/or gizzards. You get a lot. This writer ordered a pound when a half pound would have been enough. Even so, the pound was only $2.60. A three-piece chicken dinner with one side and a roll cost only $4.99. A two-piece meal and the snack pieces are even lower.

The kitchen is opened from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. while Valero itself is opened 24 hours. Breakfast meals are served each morning.

When checking the web to find out more about the Richmond Valero, this writer discovered that Valeros throughout the United States have different kitchens while some convenience stores have none. The chicken in Richmond might taste one way, but there is no guarantee that it will be the same recipe in all the kitchens in Valero in other states.

If you are in and around Richmond, check out the chicken in the kitchen at Valero.

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