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Gobbler opens to long waits and high-priced food

Oxford's first fried chicken restaurant draws customers with its large orange sign on Spring St.
Oxford's first fried chicken restaurant draws customers with its large orange sign on Spring St.

Oxford’s first fried chicken restaurant, Gobbler, opened Monday, Nov. 27, on 327 W. Spring St. 

Opened by David Kuo, who also owns Brick House Cafe, Gobbler offers a large menu of sandwiches, chicken tender platters, soups and other appetizers. Despite the wide array of offerings, there were no vegetarian entrees, and the only protein on the menu besides chicken was cod. 

Gobbler allows its customers to order their food at the counter and then wait for their order to be called. It offers a large dining area that makes for a cozy atmosphere, especially with the small fireplace in the wall. 

Photo by Kaitlin McDowell | The Miami Student
Gobbler provides a large indoor seating area for its customers, with plenty of tables.

The interior of Gobbler is filled with chicken-related posters and puns including phrases like “welcome to our coop,” or “cool chicks live here.”

For a college town restaurant, the prices are a little high. “The Healthy Hen,” a grilled chicken sandwich, costs $10, the exact same price as a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A. The only difference is that Chick-fil-A is a well known, high quality chain. 

No restaurant is perfect in its first few weeks of operation, but the service was quite slow for a counter-service style restaurant. My food took over 40 minutes to come out.

The restaurant was quite full with customers awaiting their food, and the amount of staff members did not match the demand for food. 

The first item I tried was The Healthy Hen, a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce, pickles, a fried pickle and Gobbler sauce served on a pretzel bun. For those of you wondering what Gobbler sauce is, I would describe it as very similar to the popular Korean dressing, Yum Yum sauce.

Photo by Kaitlin McDowell | The Miami Student
Gobbler's grilled chicken sandwich is known on the menu, as "The Healthy Hen."

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The chicken was cooked very well, and the fried pickle was a surprisingly good touch to the sandwich, but I was a little disappointed that my pretzel bun was slightly burnt, ruining a little bit of the flavor of the sandwich. For the $10 price of this sandwich, I was pleased with how much food I received. 

Next, I tried a Gobbler chicken sandwich, a fried chicken sandwich topped with lettuce, Gobbler sauce, and once again a fried pickle, all served on a pretzel bun. I ordered this as a combo meal, so I also received a side of mashed potatoes. The fried chicken was very crispy, and the pretzel bun was not as overcooked as my previous sandwich. I was very pleased with the mashed potatoes as they were creamy and very flavorful. I wouldn’t typically order mashed potatoes at a restaurant of this style, but these did not disappoint and paired wonderfully with my chicken sandwich. 

Photo by Kaitlin McDowell | The Miami Student
Above is a Gobbler chicken sandwich, which is served fried, with a side of mashed potatoes

Finally, I tried two different orders of chicken strips, known as the Gobbler chicken strip combo, so I could try different sides. My first order of chicken tenders came with tater tots and green beans. The chicken tenders were a little too tender for my liking and not very crispy, but the chicken inside was very juicy. 

Although they were cooked well, my tater tots did come out cold, which made them slightly unappealing. The green beans were packed tightly in a plastic container and cold, which also made them slightly unappealing. I would not recommend these two sides. 

Photo by Kaitlin McDowell | The Miami Student
An order of chicken strips from Gobbler is served with only two strips. This was ordered with tater tots.

Photo by Kaitlin McDowell | The Miami Student
The tightly-packed packaging of Gobbler's green beans side was not the most appetizing.

With my next order of chicken tenders, I ordered a side of fries, which may have been one of my favorite things at Gobbler. This is a big statement as many fries taste the same, but these fries were the perfect amount of soft, while still maintaining the potato flavor. 

I usually dip my fries in ketchup, but the ketchup I ordered turned out to be very thin buffalo sauce, thus I ended up dipping my fries in the Gobbler Sauce.

Above are Gobbler chicken strips with a side of fries.

Both of these chicken tender combo meals were $12, which for two chicken tenders and sides, seemed a little outrageous to me. 

Because Gobbler was filled with new customers, I had the chance to get the opinions of Miami University students as well.

“The temperature of my food was cold when I got it, and they need a better food pickup system, to avoid the long wait,” Julia Stemple, a primary education major, said.  “My green beans were also too soft and mushy.” 

Other students had good things to say about the food quality. 

“The chicken was very juicy, and I was happy with the amount of food I received for the high price,” Mary Spurgeon, a social work major, said. 

Gobbler will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Its food is available for delivery through Oxford to You, and students can find Gobbler’s menu on its website. Unfortunately, the website does not advertise nearly half of the foods found on the menu board in-person. 

All in all, Gobbler is a good addition to Oxford’s food scene, as Uptown is currently populated with a multitude of Chinese restaurants and American-style joints. I’m excited to see this restaurant grow and hopefully improve their service.

Rating: 6/10