OKAWVILLE, Ill — A group of retired men and their wives gathered to enjoy a fried chicken meal in In Okawville, Illinois. As they dined together, the dinner sparked an idea, and within a week, the group expanded to include anywhere from 10 to 15 guys, forming a club of sorts. 

They call themselves the Mother Clucker Chicken Club, and they travel around the metro area of St. Louis, judging establishments on the chicken they sell.

The unique name “Mother Clucker” originated from a bar located in Mississippi. Unfortunately, this bar had to shut down. The bar had even sold T-shirts, and several were bought by the Mother Clucker chicken club to form a uniform as of sorts.  

Randy Maxwell, group spokesperson, said that they had visited a few places that were listed on the Fox2’s article St. Louis’ best fried chicken spots, according to FOX 2 viewers.

  • King Edwards,
  • Hobo’s at the Legion,
  • Amigo Joe’s,
  • Fergies,
  • Hodaks,
  • Grace Meat + Three,
  • Porters, and
  • Picadilly.

“A few of these places from your article did not fare well with our group,” Maxwell said.

The scoring system utilized by the group ranged from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating. The group’s scoring method changed to include a more detailed approach. This was because they realized that a great meal was about more than just how the chicken tasted. 

Each member of the group would provide scores based on their personal assessments across six key areas: crispiness, juiciness, taste, sides, price point, and service. It was important to realize that this scoring method was subjective and not based on science, since each person’s mood and preferences could affect the ratings.

“So, a big takeaway on scoring is [that] it’s not all about the taste of chicken,” said Maxwell. “A good wait staff is critical, supporting 20 to 25 crusty old guys is a difficult task.” 

Maxwell said twenty men can drink a gallon of iced tea.  The members get really thirsty if they don’t get refills. “Some places don’t give you a choice of sides, crusty old guys like a choice,” he said.  

This past year’s winner served fresh green beans. No other place has served them, and according to Maxwell, people at the table were whispering, “These are fresh green beans, and with bacon, they’re delicious.” 

“When we went to one place, [the restaurant] had forgotten to order their chicken.  It doesn’t go over well to have a chicken lunch with no chicken,” he said. 

All the chicken club members were responsible for finding a good place to meet, but as time went on, it became harder and harder to find new places. A few people stepped up and took charge of making plans. When someone found a place that might work, they would an email the whole group with information like the place, date, and time of the meeting.  

The group usually tried to eat at 1 p.m. to avoid the lunch rush and have a smooth eating experience. Communication with the picked places is important, not every place could fit 20-25 people and not every place had enough fryers to cook chicken for that many people. 

MotherCluckers posing with Joey B’s as he was awarded the trophy for best chicken.

Reflecting on past winners, the following establishments have received recognition in the chicken club: 

  • Joey B’s in south St. Louis County 
  • Merz on Main in Columbia, IL  
  • Hop House in O’Fallon, IL 
  • Bootheel BBQ and Diner in St. Claire, MO (currently not in operation) 
  • Hobo’s at the Legion in St. Peters, MO 

These establishments have impressed the group in various ways, contributing to memorable chicken dining experiences. 

According to the Mother Cluckers, Hobo’s at the Legion in St. Peters holds the top spot due to its delicious food and unique environment. One noteworthy chicken dish is the habanero chicken at Amigo Joe’s, which has been recognized as one of the most flavorful and enjoyable options.