Bobo’s Chicken: believe the hype
Bobo’s Chicken is located in a bright red food trailer. As a result, their hours and location are subject to change. However, they are most commonly located in an empty lot on the SE corner of Northeast 23rd Street and Hood (map to approximate location). They usually open Friday and Saturday nights from about 7pm to 3am or later. Cash only.
In the four years I’ve been running this website about Oklahoma City restaurants, I’ve heard a lot about Bobo’s Chicken. Mostly, when people tell me about it, it sounds like this:
“Have you heard of Bobo’s? Have you been? Seriously, you haven’t been? Man, it is the absolute best chicken in the world served in this little shack trailer and they’re only open like midnight to 5am on the weekends and you have to try to find them somewhere over there on the northeast side. Dude, you’ve got to go.”
(Please note: I have used the word “dude” (above) for dramatic effect. Most people don’t actually call me “dude”)
Usually, when I hear such things from lots of different people, I start to wonder if it’s really that good or if it’s all hype. My excitement starts to wane as I realize a place has become a bit of an Oklahoma City legend and that the excitement people feel likely stems from the buzz surrounding a place as much as from the food. Perhaps that explains why it’s taken me so long to try Bobo’s. But I did try it, and when I did, I realized that I should have believed the hype. The chicken is just that good.
First off, let’s clear up a few things, especially for those who may have never heard of Bobo’s.
Bobo’s Chicken operates out of a bright red food trailer. There’s nowhere to sit (except on the ground or in your car) so most people just get it to go. While I have heard that their location used to vary from week to week, it seems lately they have been pretty steady, setting up in an empty lot on the southeast corner of NE 23rd and Hood. They operate only on Friday and Saturday nights, but they seem to open earlier now than they used to. I found them open at 7pm. They typically stay open late into the night, until around 3am or so at least. All of this information is subject to change, but this appears to be the current scoop.
Part of the mystique of Bobo’s is its reputation for being a little “scary.” This stems from its location, its late-night hours, and the fact that it has seen a few violent incidents in the past. You may hear people joke about taking your life into your own hands when you visit Bobo’s, but I think that’s a bit unfair. Naturally, you need to be aware of your surroundings anywhere you go, but I know many people who have visited Bobo’s, myself included, and have felt perfectly safe. In fact, I found the people working at Bobo’s and all the people around me in line to be extremely friendly. Here at EatAroundOKC, we have always celebrated the places that take us out of our comfort zones in search of something unique. That’s what our shady restaurant series is all about. Bobo’s definitely deserves your attention as one of Oklahoma City’s best shady dining establishments.
So, what about that chicken?
On the menu (a piece of white poster board displayed at the back of the trailer), it’s called “wings and things” and you order it as a 4 piece ($5.99), 7 piece ($9.99), 12 piece ($14.99) or 20 piece ($24.99). The number of pieces means the number of chicken wings, but keep in mind you also get the “things.” So, order yourself a 4 piece and for six bucks even you’ll get a heap of french fries, four large chicken wings, and a few pieces of fry bread all packed into a styrofoam container and drizzled with honey (see a picture). Actually, the honey is optional (they will ask you if you want it) but highly recommended. You can get extra honey for $1 more.
The chicken isn’t just fried, it’s also smoked. That’s right. You’ll smell the smokey flavor the moment they hand you the box. And when you bite into it, you’ll get a crispy, smokey, juicy combination that will win your heart. Oh, and then you’ll get a surprise — a lingering bit of spiciness that stays on your lips. I really wasn’t expecting the heat, but I loved it. It’s not overpowering, but it’s there in the chicken and on the fries.
Now, I’ll be honest. I’m not a huge fan of fried chicken. Fried chicken is not often my meal of choice. But I will be going back to Bobo’s. This is truly a meal that cannot be ignored.
It should be noted that Bobo’s also has fried shrimp and fried catfish, but based on what I have heard from others, I decided to focus this review on the main attraction, the chicken. If you’ve tried their other items, let us know what you thought of them in the comments.
Alright, so I’ve bought into the hype. I’m a believer. To all of you who raved to me about Bobo’s over the years, I humbly accept your “I told you so.” And to those of you who haven’t tried it yet, do yourself a favor and give it a go. A four piece is easily enough for one and likely enough for some of you to split, so it’s hard to beat that value at $6 even.
We want to hear your thoughts about Bobo’s as well, so please leave them in the comments below.