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December 29, 2013 10:04 AM   Subscribe

You may not know his name but you will certainly know his work: Morris Cassanova (aka Mr Chicken) designs and makes signs for most of the fried chicken shops in the UK. Meet Mr. Chicken
posted by timshel (31 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fried chicken is Britain's fastest-growing fast food (Guardian, 2011)
posted by alasdair at 10:26 AM on December 29, 2013


That is an oddly specific specialty.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:36 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fellow needs an OBE for services to chicken shops.
posted by Thing at 10:36 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unless the logo involves a smiling cartoon chicken eating a drumstick, I don't want to see it.
posted by item at 10:44 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I wanted to seize control of the 15 min zeitgueist I'd open a hip fried chicken joint in London called CHIKIN GOOD and hire this guy ti cover the walls in multi-chicken pop art murals
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


As a transplanted American girl who grew up on Pioneer and Popeye's, there's something just so beautiful about the range of almost-American signage of fried chicken shops.

I just wish there was one here by my house. We have three chip shops, three cafés, three Chinese places, one pizza/pasta place, and the Indian takeaway branched out to be a full service restaurant, not to mention the McDonalds, Subway, and Greggs on the retail park, but no chicken place.

Which makes me sad because, sometimes, you just need fried chicken. There's nothing else like it, nothing quite so soothing, and when I'm ridiculously homesick or fed up, I can just bite into a drumstick and it just makes things better.

(to make things worse, one of the buses I catch on my way home goes right past a KFC. Aw man, the smell!)
posted by Katemonkey at 10:49 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a Channel 4 documentary show (I think a spin-off of a Cutting Edge episode) called The Fried Chicken Shop, which is this neat slice-of-life thing that goes into the lives of the customers and the staff of a single fried chicken shop. It's surprisingly compelling, but since so much of the footage is either of chicken and chips (dripping, DRIPPING with oil) being prepared or devoured it's hard to watch without getting a little queasy.
posted by figurant at 10:52 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The local chicken place shut down when it got busted for using illegal immigrants (well foreign students who should not have been working). Soon reopened with a new sign. Nice bit of work for Mr Chicken.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:54 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dixy Chicken?
posted by octothorpe at 10:57 AM on December 29, 2013




One of the best fast food signs I've seen is this one in Leicester.
posted by pipeski at 11:35 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Welp, now I know what's for dinner.
posted by sourwookie at 11:55 AM on December 29, 2013


Oh man, awesome. I'm excited to check (chick?) out the book, now.
posted by redsparkler at 12:24 PM on December 29, 2013


As Miah's staff fill him a box of chips and chicken, he asks for mayonnaise. "More," he says, "more, more." When he's handed the box, the food now nearly hidden beneath thick white dollops, he reaches for the ketchup and fills in the gaps. Then he reaches for the barbecue sauce. And then the mustard.
My favorite pseudo-North-American cuisine I saw in Britain was when, decades ago, on a trip we stopped at a recently-opened Burger King. The wall had an enormous poster of a sandwich made with a chicken breast and a hash brown patty topped with a limp piece of lettuce. As Katemonkey says, almost. Unless it's a regional thing I haven't run into yet here in the States.

Also, at a Sainsbury's on a later trip, there was frozen spam pizza.

This sort of impression of the British culinary experience was reinforced by the fact that after supper each night my relatives who I'd be visiting would have "a sweet", which was anything from the cupboards that was sweet, mixed together in a bowl: canned pears, topped by a crumbled jam tart, topped by blackberry yogurt, for example. A veritable turducken of a dessert.

On the other hand, excellent kebabs and fish & chips.
posted by XMLicious at 12:33 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was hypnotized into walking across town for KFC by this thread. Unfortunately, KFC has been focussing on its outlets abroad in recent years - meaning typically excellent upmarketish franchises abroad but increasingly dodgy downmarketish franchises in the US. My hot wings were anemic and old. The crunchy-style breast was not crunchy and practically topless with slapdash seasoning covering. The decor and layout of the KFC I went to was a little bit zombie apocalypse too. Oh, and I was not able to order regular French fries. They only had the weird seasoned wedge ones
posted by Bwithh at 1:10 PM on December 29, 2013


Also, at a Sainsbury's on a later trip, there was frozen spam pizza.

Spam is an honorary British citizen because of its service during WWII and also Monty Python sketches
posted by Bwithh at 1:13 PM on December 29, 2013


They only had the weird seasoned wedge ones

Those wedge fries are pretty much the only reason to visit a KFC, if I could somehow make them at home I'd never need visit thier deathly halls again ( although, if I'm being honest, the employees of KFC always seems very nice and accommodating when I said I wanted an entire bucket of potato wedges because I was usually the only person they served all day because it's KFC.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2013


And the ideal best fried chicken experience is the place on magazine street street in New Orleans I visit every year for the Oscars where they put the show on all the big screens and both server and served alike take turns mocking and watching while eating whole zucchini strips, drumsticks, and heavy pours of cheap red wine,
posted by The Whelk at 1:22 PM on December 29, 2013


God now I'm so hungry
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:00 PM on December 29, 2013


I was thinking once that there may well be a fried chicken shop in the UK named after every US state (as well as random other Americanisms, like Brixton's “Kennedy Fried Chicken”), and that one could probably make an art project of tracking down and photographing each of the other 49 states' fried chicken shops.
posted by acb at 2:12 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


because I was usually the only person they served all day because it's KFC.)

Seriously check the newer KFCs outside the US instead, they are magical otherworldy places with much better quality food, especially afaik in Japan and South Korea
posted by Bwithh at 2:25 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I spent some time in Iran a couple of months ago, and was impressed by the variety of knock-offs of US fast food chains: Kentucky House, Kentucky Burger, Kentucky Domino (I think this was a burger shop), Kabooky Fried Chicken, the mysterious ZFC and dozens of others.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:26 PM on December 29, 2013


I was thinking once that there may well be a fried chicken shop in the UK named after every US state (as well as random other Americanisms, like Brixton's “Kennedy Fried Chicken”), and that one could probably make an art project of tracking down and photographing each of the other 49 states' fried chicken shops.
posted by acb at 2:12 PM on December 29 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Why, yes, there is at least one Alaska Fried Chicken in the UK. This one's near Manchester
posted by Bwithh at 2:28 PM on December 29, 2013


Also: is “perfect frying” an actual technique, like perfect binding only done with chicken?
posted by acb at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2013


The spine adhesive is no I just can't do it
posted by ook at 3:22 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The folks from West Kabooky get really pissed off if you mistake them for those from Kabooky proper
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:39 PM on December 29, 2013


Mr. Chicken's real name, Morris Benjamin Cassanova, is wonderful and he seems quite a nice chap.
posted by islander at 4:31 PM on December 29, 2013


Someday I shall open a Polynesian chicken shop called Kon-tiki Fried Chicken.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 4:48 PM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Someday I shall open a Polynesian chicken shop called Kon-tiki Fried Chicken.

There is one near me called Pacific Rim Mixed Grill and it is awesome.

Tennessee Friend Chicken has been confusing me for years.
posted by Mezentian at 5:12 PM on December 29, 2013


Niche signage related to product and ethnicity of proprietors is a fascinating thing. And it's a really widespread phenomenon if you stop to look.

For instance, many of the manicure shops in Greater Boston are family-owned, and the proprietors often have a Vietnamese background. Now, there are all kinds of people who own nail salons, but the Viet-run places generally have signs with medium-blue and/or medium-red lettering, gold outer edging, and the typeface is generally a rounded serif style (like Georgia Bold).

I wonder about this every time I notice it. Is there a cultural reason for selecting this type of signage? Are the signs designed and manufactured by just a few individuals? Perhaps there's a Vietnamese community-connected company that sells a personalized kit to start businesses, because there's generally a large Patrick Nagle-style decal in the window of a woman displaying her nails. Also, other Viet-run businesses, like restaurants and barbers have similar lettering in their signs.

It's fascinating in the best way!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:13 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


For instance, many of the manicure shops in Greater Boston are family-owned, and the proprietors often have a Vietnamese background.

Blame it on Tippi Hedren.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if a consistent signage were part of the cultural package that gets passed along.
posted by Naberius at 1:44 PM on December 30, 2013


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