Local Noms: Zaxby’s



A Big Zax Snak meal at Zaxby's includes chicken fingers, fries, Texas toast and a drink.

In a little less than a week, I’ll be leaving Columbia, Mo., my home for the past five years. A lot of things about this make me sad. Leaving behind a lot of people I love, leaving behind a school and town I love, moving on from college stuff to the *~*real world.*~*

But here’s the real sad part: I’m leaving just two weeks after discovering the wonderful thing that is Zaxby’s.

Zaxby’s opened two locations in Columbia in January — the Georgia-based chain’s first Missouri locations — but I didn’t make it to either until recently. I wasn’t interested, because I’ve never been a fan of Chick-fil-A and I assumed they were basically the same thing. But I figured I should give Zaxby’s a try before I moved out of Columbia, and I’m not sure if that was a good decision or a bad decision — I’m glad I got to try it, because it’s great, but now I have one more Columbia eatery to miss. Womp.

Anyway, in search of a quick dinner on my way to work the other week, I made a spontaneous stop at the Stadium & 63 location while driving back into town from Jefferson City. I ended up with a “Big Zax Snak Meal,” which, okay, do you see that thing pictured at the top of the post? Is that a snack? No. Chicken fingers, fries, Texas toast and a drink? That, friends, is a meal.

And a darn good one, too. The fries are fantastic, with some kind of seasoning that is great. The chicken tastes like real chicken. The Texas toast was a surprise for me (I opened my to-go box in the newsroom and said out loud, “Why is there bread?”) but it’s a nice touch.

A piece of chicken sits next to a packet of Zaxby's special sauce.


And the Zax Sauce! I like the sauce a lot. I was wary — I am typically not a sauce person — but I think it’s great. It’s a little spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. People who are used to spicy things would probably not even think it’s spicy. But it has a nice kick. Put it on your chicken! Put it on your fries! Nom nom nom. I enjoyed every part of my meal. Two thumbs up, Zaxby’s.

Also, on a non-food note, it’s worth mentioning that at both the Stadium & 63 location and at the Nifong & Providence location (I went there over the weekend on a fries-for-dinner run, sorry I’m not sorry), the service was great. At Stadium & 63, the guy working the drive-thru answered my many first-time-visitor menu questions with patience and kindness, like he really cared about helping me order something I would like. At Nifong & Providence, I ended up waiting a few minutes while they made the fries fresh, and several employees checked in with me, making sure that I had been helped and that I had everything I needed. Lots of smiling faces, lots of genuinely nice people. I wasn’t at either location for long, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. And I plan to do so at least once more — I want more of those fries! And I might take a few packs of Zax Sauce back up north with me, too 😉

So, in conclusion, don’t be a dummy like me and get yourself over to Zaxby’s ASAP. You won’t be sad that you did.

(PS, to clarify, I don’t actually think leaving Zaxby’s is the real sad part of my impending departure from Columbia. I have better priorities than that. But it is really tasty food.)


Noms: Pasta Salad with Chicken, Grapes and Cashews


This pasta salad contains pasta, chicken, grapes and cashews.

In college, you hit a bunch of milestones that make you feel like you’re growing up. Signing your first apartment lease. Traveling on your own. Graduating with a degree.

But I’ve always felt that it’s not the big things that make me feel like I’m on my way toward adulthood as it is the little things, the ones that your parents always did for you, like taking your fancy clothes to the dry cleaner or using Draino and boiling water to fix your sink.

A recent “Oh my gosh, I might sort of be a kind of adult” moment? Making my mom’s pasta salad, a delicious combination of chicken, pasta, grapes and cashews coated in a semi-sweet dressing.

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