During our many trips to The Villages in Central Florida, we always hears about McCall’s Tavern. Everyone (and I mean everyone) up there says that they have the best fried chicken in the area. Since we’re both self proclaimed fried chicken
snobs experts (ok, we just love fried chicken) so we decided to test out the claim on this recent visit.
McCall’s Tavern is in the Spanish Springs Town Square area, which is the oldest of the three Village Town Squares. McCall’s Tavern is a rustic looking spot that actually is connected to a bowling alley. It’s a self contained restaurant/bar with a window view of the bowling lanes which gives it a unique feel. Patio seating is also available, but we went inside for dinner.
It always seems to be Happy Hour in The Villages and tonight their bar was packed. Luckily, the dining room had lots of available tables and we were sat immediately.
The decor is Old West with lots of weathered wood. We did find that the noise level was much higher than expected even with some ceiling sound dampeners. Guess they need to add a few more.
Since it was Happy Hour (every day 11am-7pm), our party ordered a rum and diet coke ($2.99), a ‘Beer of the Day’ special – 20 oz mug of Miller ($2.79) and a 12 oz draft of Yuengling ($1.69).
Our server was a little new, but seemed to be keeping up with everything and was really nice. When she went off to get our drinks, I walked into the bowling alley to take a look around.
The menu at McCall’s Tavern is large with a heavy leaning to American comfort food. Hamburgers, sandwiches and full dinners cover the bases. Many of the items brought back childhood memories like the fried bologna sandwich and the meatloaf dinner. They even offer Sheppard’s Pie and calves liver dinners for those wanting something a bit different. Here’s their menu.
It’s hard to come to McCall’s Tavern and not order the fried chicken. Three of us ordered fried chicken dinners and one went for the fried fish dinner. Each comes with two sides and a soft roll. They do mention in advance that everything is cooked to order and the fried chicken takes between 20-30 minutes. Our dinners came out at around the 30 minute mark.
Fish Fry Dinner ($11.99) – beer battered filet served with tartar sauce. The fish filet was pretty large in size and was a delicate white fish. Not sure of the type of fish, but it was really fresh and tasty. It was still hot and the breading had a nice crunch. While the menu said beer batter, it was actually the same breading they use on the chicken. It seems more flour based, but much more flavor than beer batter. It’s light and packed with flavor. The fish was not overly greasy and I think it’s a solid choice of you are not in the mood for the fried chicken. The fries were the frozen variety, but freshly made.
World Famous Fried Chicken Dinner ($12.99). Four pieces (half of a chicken) served with two sides. I’m just going to start by saying it – McCall’s Tavern does have the best fried chicken in The Villages. The chicken arrived to the table still scorching hot. The crust is light and crisp with a complex flavor. It’s almost along the lines of ‘Broasted’ chicken with the white meat being so moist and juicy. The breast was huge and not dry at all and we’re guessing they might brine the meat since it was infused with flavor.
The mashed potatoes were just ‘ok’ and the stuffing was far too seasoned with sage. The coleslaw, apple sauce and small salad were good side options. The green beans were probably the best side of the night. Fresh green beans with onions and bacon had lots of flavor.
McCall’s Tavern is a must try for Fried Chicken fans and with the large portions, expect to leave with a doggy bag. The restaurant volume is quite loud, but the fried chicken is worth the extra noise. You also have the option to dine on their outside patio for a quieter meal. Service was excellent and we’d definitely return.
McCall’s Tavern is located at 999 Alverez Avenue, The Villages, FL