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Pan-fried half chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes / Image: Brian Planalp // Published: 8.30.18

Colonial Cottage Serves Up Home Cookin’ The Way Grandma Would

There’s a bit of North-South fusion going on at Colonial Cottage in Erlanger.

Representing the South we have Hot Browns, fried chicken livers, the Bluegrass breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, home fries), and the fried chicken.

Representing the North (or at the very least Cincinnati) we have goetta—goetta and eggs, goetta hash, goetta Ruebens, goetta burgers, goetta wraps, and (drumroll please) goetta nachos.

Taken together, it’s the sort of rarified country cookin’ you’d find on your grandma’s dinner table. That is, it’ll warm your heart while filling your belly, and it’ll probably be the only meal you have room for that day. (“What’s portion control?”)

The history of this place traces back to the Great Depression. Money was tight in those days, and work was scarce. But Erlanger was a hub for tobacco farmers, and in 1933, young Clara Rich saw an opportunity to serve them home cooking at an affordable price. That year, she opened Colonial Cottage, which has proven popular among locals and travelers ever since. There’s even an apocryphal story about Elvis Presley dining there on his way back to Tennessee after getting discharged from the Army.

And why wouldn’t it be popular? The fried chicken is exemplary (and award-winning). It hits the fried-chicken trifecta: crispy, moist, and flavorful. Dunk it in the gravy that tops the mashed potatoes and you’ll be seeking this stuff out for years to come.

The restaurant is also known for its prime rib, meatloaf, cottage ham, and every other country cookin’ dish you can fathom. The goetta is wonderful, as are the burgers. Still, it’s the fried chicken that’ll have you raving to your friends and writing Yelp reviews. It’s award-winning for a reason—best fried chicken in the city, some say. I reckon they’re right.

As for the interior of the restaurant, it’s cozy enough. Sort of reminds me of a homier LaRosa's. But, if we're being honest, that doesn’t really matter. You aren’t going to Colonial Cottage because you want an hours-long escapade of a meal. You’re going because it’s got home cooking from both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, all prepared like grandma would, and it’s exactly what you're craving right now.

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Colonial Cottage is located at 3140 Dixie Highway (41018).