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Sep 6, 2001 02:22 AM

Great Fried Chicken - anyone remember The Last Word in DG?

  • r

Hi all,

An earlier discussion here talked about White Fence Farm, and got me to thinking about my old favorite...the long-gone Last Word on Ogden Ave in Downers Grove. My original post is listed below. Anyone remember the Last Word and/or have any favorite places for great fried chicken in the Chicago area?

White Fence Farm was always great...a trip out into "the country" for a special occasion, but memories of the finest fried chicken of all come from a place that used to be in Downers Grove on Ogden Avenue called The Last Word. And outstanding cinnamon rolls with dinner, too. They expanded into a buffet restaurant and it was never the same. Closed in the 70s sometime and ne'er to be heard from again. Anyone else remember? - Bob in RSM, CA

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  1. v
    Vital Information

    Having grown up in the northern areas of chicago, i never heard of the last word. But i do have memories of all sorts of gone fried chicken places.

    Many a family function featured the broasted chicken, giant potato wedges and heavy cardboard plates of wesslies (of skokie). way before popeyes came around, fast food fried chicken meant chicken unlimited. i still occasionally see an old chicken unlimited building with another occupant. Finally, what about "chicken in the rough". Our local spot in Northbrook for this version of chicken, sided with shoestring fries was the bowling alley sited, Sportsman's country club.

    Anyone else have any lamented chicken spots?

    Bob, where is RSM california, I could use some vicarious california chowhound experiences.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Vital Information
      andy o'neill

      "broasted" -- I love that term. What does a good "broasting" entail?

      1. re: andy o'neill

        broasted is fried under pressure and you can get broasted chicken at Father & son's Marcello's at North and Larabee.

        1. re: paulette

          The rest of their menu sucks the big one - or at least it did a few years ago.

          1. re: paulette

            "Fried under pressure" Sounds like me at the end of the summer. Is that right? I always assumed it was a made up term.

        2. re: Vital Information

          Oh my, I had forgotten all about "Chicken Unlimited" -- that brings back more than a few memories.

          As for RSM, it's Rancho Santa Margarita in Oragnge County, half way between LA and SD. As for any questions, bring 'em on -- my SoCal experience is quite in depth, but I must admit to being a Chicagoan at heart, so my expertise is on foods like pizza, ribs, steak, and such. Don't go sushi on me!

          1. re: Vital Information

            "chicken in the rough"
            I just meet the former head cook from the local (long closed),Michigan City, In location. nothing too interesting to report>

            Anyone have any leads anywhere?

            Beverley Osborne the former "franchiser is deceased".
            A few years ago I spoke with the owner of the co. He said he was looking to open a few new places. ANYBOY KNOW WHERE THANKS?

            I own Four of the original finger buckets.

          2. Hey RSM, CA--
            I just became a member of Chowhound, so that is why I respond so late since your note on The Last Word Chicken in Downers Grove. I am now retired in Atlanta and so fondly remember our Sunday drive with the family to LWC on Ogden Avenue. Not only did they have the best chicken and PIES in the midwest (including White Fence Farm and Chicken in the Rough) but their cottage cheese, 3 bean salad and cole slaw were the "teasers" to wet your appetite. Now here is the cous de gra(?) What was their famous slogan that appeared on each and every paper platemate? Times Up--

            "When chicken like this is served,
            The wise man never lingers,
            He puts aside his knife and fork,
            and eats it with his fingers"

            4 Replies
            1. re: tibbie

              Wow, talk about a blast from the 8 year old thread about a restaurant that has been defunct for 30 years or so!

              And the, that DOES being back the memories! Another memory was the American flags they put in their sisters use to love that!

              Last Word postcards come up on ebay once in awhile and i have a couple of them. One of the truly great restaurant memories from my youth.

              How on earth did you find this post?

              1. re: tibbie

                I just became a member of chowhound-was reminiscing about The Last Word and did a google search on it and got here. I grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago, but driving out to the Last Word for Sunday chicken dinner was a fond memory dating back to the early 1950's and on-every family birthday and my parents' anniversary, we were always at The Last Word. And yes I remember the poem too! Can't remember the names of the original owners though-was it the Beck's??

                I have managed to come up with a coleslaw recipe that is similar to theirs-and I make sure I have cottage cheese to go with it and a bean salad! The pies were to dream about. As a child I liked the cream pies, like lemon cream or coconut cream, but my Dad always ordered their strawberry rhubarb pie a la mode with peppermint ice cream! It really is a great combination, and now whenever I make Strawberry rhubarb pie at home, I always have to make sure I get peppermint ice cream to go with it! Great memories at that place. I live in the western 'burbs and now that location is just a storefront. Wish I could get that chicken recipe!

                1. re: tibbie

                  I have thought about the great coleslaw for years! Would you be willing to share?

                  Did you know Moran & Galvins restaurant in Hillside?

                  One of our family favorites, along with the LW.

                  1. re: bearfan9

                    The coleslaw recipe I use that is similar to the Last Word's: 1 small head of cabbage (about 1 to 1 and 1/2 lbs), shredded
                    1/2 green pepper-chopped very fine or shredded
                    1 small to medium onion, chopped very fine or shredded
                    1 cup sugar
                    1/2 cup + 2 TBS white vinegar or white wine vinegar
                    1/2 cup vegetable oil-usually use Wesson (fresh!)
                    1 tsp salt
                    1 tsp celery seeds
                    combine cabbage, peppers, onion and sugar in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to boil until salt dissolves. Cool slightly, then pour over cabbage mixture and toss gently. Cover and chill at least 2 hours (probably longer to get it cold). It will keep several days in the refrigerator, but cover well, best with a lid rather than plastic wrap as it is "fragrant". sometimes I add a bit more celery seed to the coleslaw mixture after blending-I like celery seed! I usually use a Cuisinart food processor to shred the cabbage, green pepper and onion.

                    Sorry this is so late in response-have been busy!

                    Don't know Moran and Galvins in Hillside-what items were noteworthy that you remember-assume they are long gone?

                2. I worked @ the Last Word from 1968-1970 while I was in HS. Loved the fried chicken! Have such great memories of the place & girls I worked with... it was a good time. Left for college and now live in OKC. Glad to know some one else remembers! :)

                  1. I have a rooster from there my parents bought. We always went there!

                    1. Hey RSMBob,

                      From 1960-63, I remember eating at The Last Word. Being only 10-13 y.o, I don't remember much but I do remember it was one of my Uncle Frank's favorite place to take us out to eat. I feel like you wore a plastic 'bib' and afterwards were given a lemon-water finger bowl with warm cloth to clean your fingers. Don't hold me to the bib and finger bowl but it seems right. Didn't know it was in Downers Grove but at 10 y.o. you don't necessarily know where you are or where you're going--or at least I didn't. Hey "tibbie"--I too now remember that slogan on each paper platemate. You have amazing recall.

                      At that age, I also remember the other restaurant that my uncle would take us too--The Homestead. It wasn't on a roof then (I don't think?) and I don't know where it was located. My aunt and grandparents (Latvian and Ukrainian) lived in Hinsdale (the poorer side, with so many other ethnic groups) so the drive to it must have not been unreasonably long. My vague recollection is that it was not fancy or pretentious but was wholesome fresh food, maybe tied into food from the farm in some fashion.

                      My memory of these 2 places is inexact because we didn't live in Hinsdale (we lived in Battle Creek, MI) but we visited my Mom's parents and sister every summer and all of the holidays. Garfield Goose, Brookfield Zoo, Museum of Science and Industry, Rin Tin Tin, Wrigley Field (Cubs had players like Mel Roach and Andre Rodgers and Managers like Charlie Metro!), Marshall Fields, "Blackhawk" car dealership (don't remember which make(s)) and Shriner's Circus all dance around in my memory bank every once in awhile. Great memories of a great time in my life. And boy, was the eatin' good. Always looked forward to coming to Hinsdale/Chicago.