Miss Dots offers a taste of homemade style chickenBy Lauren Lane | 02/05/2016 10:04am
Tuscaloosa is a hub for barbecue institutions such as Dreamland and Archibald’s that have established the city as a slow-cooked, pig-centric empire. Several weeks ago entrepreneur and restaurateur, John Cassimus, brought a rivalry to Tuscaloosa’s barbecue world with Miss Dot and her fried chicken.
Cassimus has long since been revolutionizing the way people eat in the South through his pioneering fast-casual dining options that offer fresh and healthy options within several minutes of ordering. He created fast food chains, Zoe’s Kitchen and Maki Fresh and brought his latest endeavor, an upscale fried chicken spot, to Tuscaloosa and Mountain Brook in January.
“Miss Dot is a real person that has worked for me for a long time,” Cassimus said. “She started cooking for me at my farm back in 2011, and I liked the way she cooked authentic, southern food without being greasy. I taught her a lot of my own techniques with healthy cooking, and so we just developed a unique way of working and cooking together for people.”
Cassimus saw a need for a fried chicken place in the area that would be a step up from what is offered at a local grocery store or a drive thru and wanted to create an upscale atmosphere where people could enjoy southern food at an inexpensive price.
“I started thinking about my world in the fast casual food industry and from the consumer standpoint,” Cassimus said. “Miss Dot’s is a real simple concept, but you can really only get fried chicken at a place like KFC or somewhere like that. There’s not a brand that offers homemade, made from scratch fried chicken on the national scale like this.”
David Charboneau left his job working with Outback Steakhouse after 23 years to become the manager of Miss Dot’s. He saw the potential in the restaurant and said the idea has been well-received by people of all ages so far.
“I really like this concept, there’s no where to get food like this because I don’t see our product on the same level as fast food fried chicken,” Charboneau said. “Not only can you get the best fried chicken around, but you can get beer and wine on tap, pour over mixed drinks, as well as frozen margaritas and screwdrivers. You can’t really find that combination other places.”
Charboneau works directly with Miss Dot at the Tuscaloosa location to put together recipes and ensure that the restaurant serves the best quality and freshest food possible.
“The quality sets it apart and there are so many healthy options too,” Charboneau said. “We have these brussell sprouts that surprise people with how good they are and salads, and baked chicken, and my personal favorite is the flatbird chicken, which we marinate for 48 hours.”
Cassimus is hoping to see Miss Dot’s grow as a place for all ages to go in Tuscaloosa and to expand into more locations throughout Alabama in the next few years.
“This brand is a real story, these are real people, and the things we came up to create these recipes are real,” Cassimus said. “This a woman who’s been cooking this way since she was eight years old and this man who also loves to cook and bring people together. I think customers really understand that when they come into our restaurant and taste fried chicken and collard greens like they never have before.”
Miss Dot’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is located at 1715 University Blvd.