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Byers Stop-N-Go worth the stop

August 26, 2011

By Anne Chovey

Special to The Herald-Mail

Byers Stop-N-Go, 152 Burhans Blvd., is hard to describe.

The shop stretches across several store fronts.

It is part grocery store, part deli, part ice cream shop and part check-cashing service. Somehow it all works. A friend of mine recommended the chicken at Byers so I thought I would check it out.

I found the front door and entered into a very busy place.

To the right was a large room that contained the check-cashing, coin-counting and bill-paying services. Further to the right is a new addition with tables to sit and eat. To the right was the food part.

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More than just a bread and milk place, Byers has several aisles of groceries.

In the middle of this room was a large heated case filled with all sorts of food. Beside it was another case full of meats and cheeses.

A large sign at one end directed me to place my order there.

I picked up the photocopied menu. One side had "Byers Famous Subs and Sandwiches" appetizers and sides, soups and salads, and pizza.

The other side of the menu had breakfast items, chicken and ice cream.

I was hungry for lunch so I looked at the sandwich menu first.

There were both hot and cold items with the choice of sandwiches on white, wheat or rye, croissants, half or whole subs.

The selections included cold cut, Italian, baked ham and cheese on the cold list and pork BBQ, pizza burger and meatball and cheese on the hot.

Prices ranged from $1.79 for a steamer up to $9.99 for a whole club sub.

What caught my eye was a hot sandwich called "Big Catch Fish." I ordered it on white bread with lettuce and mayo.

I was also tempted by the homemade salad: chicken, egg, ham and tuna, but I stuck with the fish.

It occurred to me that my family was out and about and I was on my own for dinner. I decided to look at the chicken. Chicken can be bought by the piece (a leg costs $1.29) or by the container (eight pieces are $8.29 while 50 are $49.99.) It was also offered as a dinner with two side dishes and a roll.

I have always liked dark meat the best, so I got a two-piece dinner (a leg and a thigh) for $4.99. It was fun to pick my two sides.

I don't often eat fried chicken since my friend Pap's mother died. We all agree hers was the best. But there was a big pile of golden brown chicken in the case and it looked pretty darn good. So what goes best with fried chicken?

For me, it was easy: macaroni and cheese and baked apples.

While I waited for my food, I stood by the food case and looked. There were several small bowls heaped high with small crunchy-looking fried balls.

I checked the menu: chicken hearts, chicken gizzards and chicken livers. Wow! I wished I had seen them earlier.

I took my food and brought it home to eat.

First, I ate my fish sandwich. It was steaming hot. The fish was large and thick, and golden brown.

It made a satisfying crunch when I bit into it. It was everything a fish sandwich should be: Mild and moist on the inside, crispy on the outside.

I couldn't wait until dinner for my chicken. There were two wonderfully browned pieces.

The coating was just right—not too thick and not too thin, not too hard and not too soft. It kept the chicken juicy and delicious.

The mac and cheese was good, too.

I suppose that people have their preferences about macaroni and cheese: some folks like a bread crumb crust on top. Some like a cheese sauce that is almost grainy in texture. Some like a sophisticated gruyere-and-cream sauce.

Byers' was right out of my childhood. It was super cheesy, super creamy and a tad salty. I gobbled it up.

The baked apples looked yummy, too. They were like apple pie without the crust: large pieces of apple with cinnamon and sugar. The apples were cooked until soft but not mushy.

As I ate them though, there was a bit of an aftertaste that I didn't care for. Still, it didn't spoil my enjoyment of them.

Byers Stop-N-Go can't really be called a restaurant. But if you are looking for the taste of a home-cooked meal, stop in, pick up your dinner and then go home.

Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.

Byers Stop-N-Go

3 1/2 (out of 5)

Food: 3 stars

Value: 4

Service: Self-service with orders placed at counter

Ambiance: Grocery-store environment

Food: Fried chicken, pizza, subs. Some vegetarian options.

Parking and handicapped accessibility: A large parking lot runs in front of the store. It is very busy. No accessibility issues were noted.

Address: 152 N. Burhans Blvd., Hagerstown

Phone: 301-797-1224

Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

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