"I'm the Gypsy - The Gizzard Queen- I'll tear your soul apart....
I'm the Gypsy - I'm guaranteed, to break your little heart." - apologies to the Who
Crouch's is one restaurant you're NOT gonna find on your own. Not in a year of Sundays. BTW, Crouch's Restaurant has but one seat, and that's reserved for one regular customer, so, bless your heart, don't get any bright ideas--you're barking up the wrong tree.
We read about Crouch's in Annabelle Tometich's News-Press article, and knew we were called there, on a Holy Mission... to partake of their legendary fried gizzards.
My fellow diners and I pulled up at 11:30 am. The parking lot was full. Still, we were not sure if this 7-11 -type spot was the right gas station. We sent the youngest, tallest and bravest in, first. He emerged with two "thumbs up" and a wide grin. We walked in and grinned, too. Straight ahead was a fried-food oasis; a veritable Southern Valhalla of plucked delights.
|Local stands at the front of the entire restaurant.|
|Fresh gizzards, with huge fry baskets in background|
Choose one to 7 pieces of chicken leg, thigh, or breast, or splurge for the 8 piece fried chicken box. There's a smothered chicken box, and sides of mac & cheese, mac & beef, and lima beans with ham hock. The small gizzard box ($3.99) is enough for several people, or splurge for the large $6.99 box. There's two large crock pots simmering with jumbo boiled peanuts. You won't go hungry with the order sizes, either.
After reluctantly eyeing the only seat in the house, we set off with our stack of styrofoam-packed boxes of take out fried goodness and sides, fixin' to sit a spell on a bench by downtown Fort Myers' meandering Caloosahatchee River.
We were again stopped, with mouths agape, - by this too tall man, um, watering the lamp post. He ain't got the sense God gave a goose, bless his heart.
The gizzards are delicious! Tender and crisp, just start eating them as soon as you leave the restaurant for optimal crispness. These plump bad boys, dressed with a splash of hot sauce, are Crouch's raison d'etre (translated- they're finger-lickin good, make ya wanna slap yo mama" good!) Recommended!The fried chicken is spot on, with the crisp crust concealing a welcoming cayenne warmth.
The surprise favorite of our sampling?
The lima beans, smothering a large and largely hidden luscious ham hock- Southern ambrosia! So creamy, so smoky flavorful! They are to be savored like a fine French daube, a Brunswick stew, or any fine work of comfort food. Highly Recommended.
Competition? Nah. Just a few gizzard tosses away is Farmers Market, which has similarly good fried chicken, just a little different style. Farmers' prices are higher, ambiance is quite different, and they definitely have more than one seat for customers! The best thing to get at Farmers Market is dessert...their pies are legendary!
Crouch's, inside Marathon gas station, 2612 Edison Ave., Fort Myers. 332-8122.