Uncle Lou Shares Chicken Secrets at Saturday's Cooper-Young Festival

Lou Martin and his daughter, Danielle, are pictured below at the Cooper-Young Festival.

If you were one of the 100,000 people who partied at the Cooper-Young Festival Saturday, you surely mixed in some eating and drinking with shopping for T-shirts and crafts.


My first food stop of the day was at Uncle Lou’s fried chicken, where I finally got to meet Lou Martin before the crowds revved up. Uncle Lou’s is nationally renowned for some of the best fried chicken in the Mid-South. (And, yes, the place has Guy Fieri’s Triple D blessing.) I asked Lou about the chicken recipe he uses for his food truck and restaurant on Millbranch Road. The recipe came from his grandmother Rosie Glaspie.


“There’s a secret ingredient, but I’ll tell you what it is,” Lou said, laughing. “It’s cinnamon.”


Most stands at the festival offered typical fair food, but I did discover a newcomer: Donna’s Kettle Corn made by Donna Daniels-Crawford. Donna’s been selling her popcorn this year at special events and the seasonal farmers markets in Bartlett and at the VA on Jefferson. I’m hoping she starts selling a little closer to East Memphis because her popcorn is addictively delicious. “Why is this popcorn so wonderful?” I asked between mouthfuls.


“It’s all the love I put it in,” Donna said, before listing these four ingredients: popcorn, canola oil, salt and sugar.


In addition to the festival’s outdoor vendors, restaurants in Cooper Young were in full swing, so we opted for lunch at the Beauty Shop. After all, who needs a pronto pup when the Beauty Shop has air conditioning and sandwiches and salads as lovely as these? Check out the BLT’s impressive stack of crispy bacon, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, and mixed greens and the cape of gorgonzola, green onions, candied pecans and tiny cubed tomatoes draping the hefty head of Romaine.


After lunch and a little more shopping (I bought a Hula Hoop), we managed to make our way across the street to Alchemy for a dessert of cocktails. We tried two news ones, and both were excellent. The Girl Next Door is a pretty picture in pink (Luksusowa vodka, watermelon puree, cane sugar and fresh watermelon juice), and the Main Street Shakedown is a little more serious but still refreshing (Hendrick’s gin, cucumber, ginger and lemon).

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