GREENBELT - Maryland is known for its crabs and crab cakes, but it will also be known for its fried chicken now that Gus’s Fried Chicken has opened its 20th restaurant in Greenbelt.
On May 1, Gus’s Fried Chicken opened its first Maryland restaurant at 5810 Greenbelt Road at the site of the old Chefs Secret Restaurant.
The first restaurant opened in 1953 in Mason, Tenn., and served 1,600 pounds of chicken a week. Since opening in 1953, the franchise has opened 20 restaurants throughout the United States including St Louis, Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Chicago. There are plans to open other restaurants throughout the metropolitan area and other cities on the east coast.
“This is a great location,” said Mark Dawejko, the owner of the Greenbelt location. “The University of Maryland is nearby, as well as the metro station and the Capitol Beltway. We have people coming two hours away just for Gus’s Fried Chicken.”
Families who come to Gus's are served family style meals, with large platters of chicken and sides and their choice of drink.
GQ Magazine and other publications have named Gus’s Fried Chicken one of the top 10 chicken restaurants in the United States, but many other food critics say it's the best fried chicken there is.
“It's the best Fried Chicken I have ever tasted,” Ronnie Leizear said. “I think I have found a new home for lunch or dinner.”
The walls of the dining room display music posters paintings of famous blues and country singers such as B.B King, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Pressley and others.
“We want our customers to feel like they are in a real southern like chicken shack,” Dawejko said.
Customers can also listen to famous blues and country music as they enjoy eating Gus’s Fried Chicken with their sides such as Bake Beans, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Fried Okra, Greens and others.
“I noticed it was open,” Randy Bailey said. “So I stopped by to give it a try because my family wanted chicken for dinner. Well I am back with my family and we will be back again. It's the best chicken I had ever tasted .No more Popeye's or KFC for us.”
As Gus’s continues to grow, it will honor traditions and serve up some of the world’s best fried chicken.
And, before you ask, no, you cannot have the recipe. As Gus once quipped, “This is a dead man’s recipe (and) I ain’t telling.”