Usually when entering a fried chicken joint, the first thing to hit you is the fragrant aromas of frying oil and poultry. When you walk through the double doors of BoBo’s Fine Chicken, however, you smell, well, nothing. The retro-style eatery is described in one of its dining room plaques as operating room-clean, but don’t let this fool you. This Shore Drive establishment is brining and frying some of the freshest, crunchiest, down South chicken in all of Coastal Virginia.
Owner of the green and white restaurant is Bo Midgett himself. The chicken connoisseur stems from generations of Virginia Beach farmers, all of whom shared a love for Southern cuisine. Recipes were passed down through the family and ultimately to Bo, whose fondest childhood memories were created over dinners with his grandmother, eating chicken off the bone.
Midgett spent several years working in kitchens throughout New York before returning to the Beach to see what he could make of his family’s treasury of great recipes. When the acclaimed Charlie’s Seafood Restaurant closed in 2016, Midgett jumped on the property. Dating back to the 1950s, the building required major TLC. Midgett spent months redesigning the space to achieve his modern-meets-old school vision. BoBo’s opened for business in April 2018 and is now sleekly outfitted with black and white tile floors, bright white subway tiles, onyx countertops, wooden booths and a full-service drive-thru.
While the interior is top notch, what really attracts the crowds to the fast casual spot is BoBo’s menu. It’s divided into succinct breakfast and lunch and dinner categories of biscuits, fried chicken meals, sandwich meals, soups and salads, fresh seasonal sides and rotating specials. Midgett takes pride in the quality of his ingredients explaining that everything beside the sandwich buns is made from scratch, and when possible, locally sourced. Gathering collard greens from Pungo, sweet potatoes from the Eastern Shore and fruits from a plethora of local growers allows Midgett to play with his menu, adding a dash of flavor to the otherwise familiar offerings. Currently on the summer menu is a cucumber and tomato salad that is outrageously fresh and delicious. Its sweet yet vinegary slant pairs tastefully with the velvety macaroni and cheese and of course, the chicken.
Midgett and the BoBo’s crew serve what Midgett refers to as iron skillet chicken. BoBo’s process is to brine, batter and fry the meat wet to create a deep dark brown coating that is crunchy and bursting with nostalgic flavor. The white bone-in meat is as tasty as it is pretty. Both the chicken and complimentary Granny Wilson’s biscuit deliciously absorb the vinegar and apple juice-based BoBo-Que concocted by Midgett’s Uncle Bill.
To wash down these flavorful bites, Midgett brews iced tea daily and squeezes fresh lemonade and limeade every morning. Also behind the bar is a quartet of rotating beer taps and Red Rooster Coffee beans for early risers.
Though it’s hard to do, if you save room for dessert, BoBo’s scoops handmade custard ice cream by the bowl, and stirs up shakes and floats too. Vanilla, chocolate and Virginia Peanut Swirl are staples, but currently in the bar top freezer is a seriously sweet Key lime pie. Midgett also hints at soon-to-return fall flavors like peach and Charlottesville Apple Bourbon.
BoBo’s Fine Chicken is located at 3139 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach and is open Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.