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Kentucky Fried Chicken's all-you-can-eat Mondays: Breasting and nesting

Plate number one....
Plate number one....
J. Wohletz

Why did the original- recipe fried chicken cross the road? To get away from the breasters and nesters at Kentucky Fried Chicken during its all-you-can-eat Monday special.

Any unlimited eat-hole cram promotion will attract a few opportunists short on dining etiquette, but a flock who lacked even basic social skills converged like a swarm of chicken hawks on the KFC at 366 Broadway last Monday.

See also:

- Three reasons why Kentucky Fried Chicken needs to work on its public relations

- Kentucky Fried Culprit

- PETA's ten-worst publicity stunts -- until the chicken

I knew what kind of food to expect for the low low-low price of $7.99 plus tax, but my fellow diners came as a complete surprise.

I got my first taste of their greasy behavior as I approached the counter. A woman had received a plate with legs and thighs, and she was none too pleased. She interrupted both employees at the counter and hissed at them like the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal because she wanted breasts. "I don't like these -- I wanted BREASTS!" she screeched.

The harried employees calmly took her plate and gave her a new one with two decent- sized chicken breasts. She spent a minute or so examining them, then declared that she preferred them bigger, but that these would be all right for now.

Okay, Lady Muck. I wouldn't have blamed the employees if they'd given her an eye roll along with her plate, but they were as dispassionate as Egyptian cat statues in a quiet museum.

As she shuffled away, a male staffer explained how the all-you-can-eat meal works: Each plate comes with legs and thighs -- unless otherwise requested -- in original recipe or extra-crispy, along with a scoop of mashed potatoes with gravy, a side of cole slaw, a biscuit, and a medium drink. When you finish the first plate, you can bring your tray back to the counter for a refill -- lather, rinse, repeat.

There are no restrictions to this special, which is available from open to close every Monday. When I asked if anyone had ever come in at opening and stayed until close, he told me no. But the deal attracts plenty of regulars, including Lady Muck, who apparently makes it a habit to camp out for hours.

While he was giving me the skinny, Lady Muck reappeared, this time clutching a biscuit in each hand, asking everyone in line if they wanted to eat her biscuits.

"I don't like them, so they'll just go to waste," she announced, while I wondered why she hadn't just declined the biscuit when she got her plate. When no one wanted them, she huffed over to the trash can and chucked them in.

I found a mostly-clean plastic table kitty-corner from Lady Muck, sat down and tucked in.

The chicken was moist and delicious; I swear the eleven herbs and spices are all some form of pepper. I always try to get the crisp-skin shell off the meat in one piece, but never manage to.

For a change, I received ample gravy; previously, my biggest peeve with KFC had been that the potato/gravy ratio isn't skewed in my favor. The coleslaw came in a separate plastic tub and had actually been refrigerated; it was the usual blend of finely minced green cabbage, carrot and thin mayo-y sauce with a slight tang of what I suspect may be horseradish. I picked at the biscuit (I only like them slathered with sausage gravy), passing up the "honey sauce" and "buttery spread" packets. The honey sauce technically had honey in it -- it was the fourth ingredient -- but the spread had no ingredients listed, so my imagination filled in the blanks.

While I ate, I noted that Lady Muck had a distinctive, archetypal cat-lady look. She'd brought a goodly amount of personal belongings to the restaurant; I saw a laptop and several bags containing magazines, books and knitting. She even had one of those sports-stadium seat cushions under her duffer.

She was camping, indoors, in a KFC, even though I suspect she had an actual home. But she wasn't the most etiquette-starved customer in the place. In a booth toward the back sat a family of four, and it looked like the dad had ordered a single special, which he was refilling every few minutes to feed everyone else at the table. Another woman was way-too-obviously stuffing chicken into a plastic bag in her over-sized purse. And a man sitting by the front window kept getting a new plate, eating just a few bites before he dumped the rest in the garbage.

That's some farm-fresh horse hooey.

I did not expect KFC to be a bastion of high culture and social refinement on all-you-can-eat Monday -- or at any other time, for that matter -- but I wasn't expecting a pickup performance of Les Miserables, either.

My second plate had a huge breast and I chewed as much juicy chicken as I could, finished the sides, clutched at my hardened abdomen, and waddled toward the door. As I stopped by the counter to thank the employees, I asked how they maintained professional attitudes during what was likely some rough customer interaction on Mondays.

They told me they'd seen so much ridiculous behavior during the all-you-can-eat special daqys that they're essentially immune to it. They've been hit by verbal rude-bombs and subjected to the worst kind of picky-eater-bullshit. The demand for breasts wasn't unique to Lady Muck -- who was still there when I left, despite having arrived hours before me.

They are better employees than I would be. I'd rather roll around naked in crushed lightbulb glass than listen to people whine about a deal like this. The all-you-can-eat Monday special at KFC is definitely worth the scratch for the chicken, so long as you don't mind the hawks.