My grandmother on my Dad’s side made the best fried chicken.
I would ride my bike over to her house from my college campus, hang out at her big round kitchen table, and wait for the crispy goodness. She was a pack rat (okay, we’d call it “hoarder” today,) so before lighting up the stove top she’d have to pull out all of the items she had stuffed inside the oven that she rarely used, especially in the heat of a central Texas summer.
Nope, there was no air conditioning at her house. A big “swamp cooler” and fans did their best to keep the kitchen bearable.
She’d thump the chicken thighs and legs around in flour, salt, and pepper – we were both dark meat fans – then they’d go into her big cast iron skillet to sizzle until ready.
Similar to Marcel Proust’s famous madeleine cookies that evoked a flood of memories, I’ve always bitten into fried chicken with a part of my brain hoping it would taste like hers, but it never does.
Until Your Mom’s.
My friend Sarah Beth lives in tiny Smithville, Texas which is in Bastrop County southeast of Austin. I’d visited a few times, most memorably to check out the local Bone Spirits Distillery. Sarah said, “We’ll meet for lunch at Your Mom’s.”
This was rather confusing at first, because my actual Mom lives in literally the opposite direction, but I finally figured out that the restaurant is named Your Mom’s. Aaaaaahhhhh.
Owners Ryan and Gina Blackmore started out in Austin, but costs drove them to look for other places to run their scratch-cooking restaurant. They were in a food truck for awhile, and now serve their delicious meals out of a beautifully-renovated historic building in downtown Smithville.
They are mostly a weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) place for now, offering comfort food like burgers, chicken fried steak, fish, pot roast, and meat loaf, but also salads and delicious desserts like bread pudding in a Mason jar. Do NOT miss the drop biscuits, either.
But the fried chicken…. oh, my. It’s cooked up from scratch, so don’t be in a rush, but when it arrived it smelled so familiar. When it cooled off enough to dig in, I practically babbled with glee that it had the exact same crispy, juicy goodness as my grandmother’s.
Sarah was kind enough to bring Ryan and Gina over so that I could meet them and tell them how wonderful it was to experience a decades-old childhood memory through their cooking. If you’re anywhere near Austin, definitely make a side trip to Your Mom’s.
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