Chicken Out Rotisserie
Yeah, Chicken Out is a chain. And, yeah, CO's part of the already annoying fast-casual trend (see also: Baja Fresh, Panera Bread, and the steadily getting worse Boston Market). However, CO was founded in Gaithersburg more than 10 years ago, so it's practically a home-state institution. And it's a relatively small chain--other local franchises are in Annapolis, Clarksville, and Columbia--with few enough restaurants to keep quality control in check.
Indeed, during our many visits to the Pikesville Chicken Out over the years, quality has remained at an even keel. True to its name, CO's highlight is chicken. Though Peruvian rotisserie chicken may be spicier, CO's signature dish is always juicy and full of flavor. It's best on its own, with a couple of sides (platters run $4.99-$8.99), but the restaurant also serves it up in sandwiches and wraps, salads, pot pies, and soups ($2.95-$7.95). Speaking of those sides (most are very good, especially the creamed spinach and mashed potatoes), we have but one suggestion for Chicken Out. Its Web site claims that its food is "prepared with fresh, 100 percent all-natural ingredients . . . in small batches throughout the day." That may be true, but there's no mention of using local produce. Imagine visiting Chicken Out on a summer day and getting fresh Eastern Shore corn on the cob and tomatoes as your sides. That might make us forever forget Boston Market.