Hometown Charm Cafe in downtown Sumner is usually a breakfast-and-lunch cafe, but its owners are opening their doors on Friday nights for John Fraizer’s fried chicken and jojo potato wedges.
The chicken dinner was a popular dish made by Fraizer at his restaurant Anglea’s before the Midland restaurant closed after a fire in January.
When I get recommendations from readers for chicken and jojos, Anglea’s version is often mentioned.
Fraizer has operated Anglea’s since 1991, when he bought it from his wife Lori’s family, who purchased the restaurant in the 1980s.
The electrical fire that closed the restaurant left one big question from his diners: When will the fried chicken be back?
The answer is murky. Insurance companies (two were involved) are working on the details, plus the discovery of pesky asbestos in the old restaurant is delaying the reopening.
How the chicken, jojos and buttermilk-garlic sour cream dip wound up on the Hometown Charm Cafe menu is an import-export story.
Three Anglea’s employees — Fraizer’s sister, Sue Rockwell; daughter Lindsay Fraizer; and Anglea’s cook, Terry Weitz — went to work for Hometown Charm Cafe while they wait for Angela’s to reopen.
They got to talking about the restaurant’s popular fried chicken and a plan was hatched: Serve the Anglea’s chicken and jojos on Friday nights during the Music Off Main concert series in downtown Sumner.
Fraizer offered to lend his expertise and labor to make the chicken.
“John has been in at Hometown teaching us and supplying us with breading and special tools from Anglea’s,” said Hometown Charm co-owner Teresa Maycumber, who opened her fledgling restaurant in January with April McLean. “John is a one-of-a-kind, just a fabulous person. He’d like to see us succeed more than anyone.”
This is the first time they’ve stayed open for dinner. The cafe usually closes at 3 p.m.
The chicken dinner will be available for Friday night dinners until 8 p.m. through the rest of the summer.
The fried chicken dinner at Anglea’s predates Fraizer. It’s been on the menu since at least the 1960s. The recipes came with the restaurant.
The chicken is fried with a breading that Fraizer described as well-seasoned (but not spicy). The chicken is oil-fried in a pressure cooker, which is why the chicken is so tender inside, crunchy on the outside, Fraizer said.
As for the jojos, Fraizer cuts potatoes into thick wedges. He soaks them overnight, then dries and coats them in the same seasoned breading as the fried chicken. That breading? It’s a well-guarded secret recipe. Maycumber doesn’t even know the recipe.
The creamy dip served on the side is referred to as “special sour cream.” It’s a sour cream base with the addition of spices, garlic and buttermilk. One of Fraizer’s customers named it “liquid gold.”
The chicken dinner at Hometown Charm is served as a two-piece for seniors ($7.99, thigh and leg), a three-piece ($9.99, thigh, leg and wing) or four-piece ($10.99, thigh, leg, wing, breast). All dinners come with jojo potatoes and the sour cream dip. Take-out orders are available for eight to 10 pieces ($15.99-$18.99).
The chicken meal also will be available Saturdays and Sundays, but only during the cafe’s usual hours until 3 p.m.
Hometown Charm Cafe
Where: 1012 Main St., Sumner.
What: Friday night chicken dinners until 8 p.m. through the summer.
Contact: 253-987-7633; facebook.com/sumnergals.