UTICA — The Fanta-orange walls of the interior of CNY Fried Chicken remind owner Shawn Anderson of an Icee.
“Utica doesn’t have that bright of colors," he said. "I thought that orange would bring great characteristics to this block.”
The restaurant, which has been open at its 685 Bleecker St. location since April 25, is first and foremost a family-run eatery, serving classic fried chicken and side dishes such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet potato pie. But Anderson wants it to be part of the community, too.
Their prices are cheap, he said — with two-piece chicken meals starting at $3.50, and a six-piece wing basket starting at $5.75 — because they want to serve food people can afford. They also deliver.
"This is not soul food; it’s fast food," Anderson said. "(But) it’s homemade food — it’s not commercial, it’s not made quick."
Anderson currently leases his location and has "about four" employees working under him, he said, including his wife, Mimi.
Business has been good so far, he said, and perhaps that makes sense — as a native of Brooklyn, he started the idea of CNY Fried Chicken because Utica didn’t have any fried chicken places like he was used to.
"See, in Brooklyn we have a (Kennedy Fried Chicken) or a (Crown Fried Chicken) on every other corner," Anderson said. "It’s cheap neighborhood food; you can run in and grab it if you don’t want to drive to McDonalds or Burger King."
Currently, the restaurant is open from noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. It's also open late Fridays and Saturdays — from noon until 3 a.m.
Once Saranac Thursdays begin, Anderson said, the restaurant will be open until 3 a.m. on Thursdays also.
In addition to chicken, the menu also includes burgers, seafood, philly cheesesteaks, gyros and sandwiches.
And at the end of the day, when they have leftover food, they offer it to the fire department or the police department if they want it.
"We’re just here for the community," Anderson said. "We’re not here to serve ourselves … we want the community to be happy and we want everybody to be able to eat."
Contact reporter Joseph Labernik at 315-792-4995 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Labernik).