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Jed’s Fireball Xpress a wet match

Joe Podelco / Lantern photographer

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Located on 11th Avenue, just behind Potbelly’s, Jed’s Fireball Xpress opened Oct. 13, and brought with it a new take on chicken to the campus area. A small chalkboard on the sidewalk and a vinyl temporary sign are all that mark the exterior to a new chicken adventure.

The menu features flash-fried chicken, coated in a sauce of your choice and topped with things reminiscent of a PJ’s sandwich.

I asked the cashier what the most popular item was and was prompted to order the “Freakballs.” The menu described the dish as chicken in my choice of sauce, accompanied by coleslaw, french fries and shredded cheese.

The combination sounded strange but I went for it. The list of optional sauces included things like barbeque — ranging from honey to spicy — buffalo and taco. I selected a basic honey barbeque and found a seat to wait for my food.

With gray and black being the most thematic colors, Jed’s has a sort of industrial vibe, accentuated by bright colors and full-wall mural of a few  music legends. This, along with the concert posters, alternative rock music, and small, multicolored lights, gives the place a concert-esque feeling.

The cashier, who was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu, brought my food out in just four minutes. The timing was impressive, and the food was hot and well put together.

The chicken comprising the bottom layer of my meal was small; about the size of a balled-up chicken nugget. It was saturated in honey barbeque, blanketed in coleslaw and french fries and the whole mess was encased in melted cheese. Visually, it left something to be desired, but it smelled pretty good.

I stabbed a cheesy fry, a piece of chicken and slathered it in coleslaw with my fork, and went in for my first bite. As a person younger than 40, I am not a big fan of coleslaw. However, the taste was overpowered entirely and the shredded veggies just added a nice crunch to the mix. The honey barbeque combined with the cheese for a nice effect and overall it was delicious.

The strange incorporation of coleslaw and the tiny pieces of chicken, really just made me feel like they were using Raising Cane’s leftovers in an attempt to create PJ’s on a plate.

The meal was filling, and I’d ordered the smaller of the two size options, so I think Jed’s could handle most appetites. But, with the cost of just a plate of chicken with some strange toppings being about $8.50, I’d say students can find a better deal elsewhere.

Jed’s is worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a break from typical, mundane chicken, but it’s a bit pricey for a typical college lunch.

Grade: C

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