Fried Chicken at Park Creek Kitchen

Shelley Mann, Columbus Alive

Everybody has their favorite place to get fried chicken, that crackly, juicy magical meal. I've now found my own. Out of a quaint restaurant situated along a retail strip in Upper Arlington, chef Jeff Headley at Park Creek Kitchen makes what can only be described as a masterful take on this classic dish. His is served on creamy shells and cheese with braised green beans, but the meat is what matters.

The cut of chicken is particularly lovely--two nice, meaty hunks of white meat without many pesky bones to deal with. It's a traditional buttermilk-soaked rendition, but the thick, extra-crispy exterior is kissed with an amazing peppercorn-spiked honey sauce that gives this chicken an amazing buttery-sweet flavor that's missing in most similar dishes.

Headley's fried chicken is a good representation of the rest of his repertoire--modern comfort food made with local ingredients and a lot of love. I'm also a big fan of his braised short ribs, served on top of a root veggie puree that makes a great alternative to heavy mashed potatoes. Definitely a place to check out if you haven't made it there before.