We like to think that Colonel Sanders was a man of refined tastes, and that were he alive today, he’d agree with us that nothing could be more refined than enjoying a bucket of fried chicken with a glass of Scotch.
Now you too can enjoy the finer things in life at KFC ROUTE 25, the world’s first KFC equipped with a fully-stocked whiskey bar.
The restaurant opened on April 25 near the south entrance of Shimokitazawa Station in Tokyo and spans three stories, with the first two operating as a normal KFC and the third transforming into ROUTE 25, a Midwestern-themed bar, after 5 p.m.
The name of the store is derived from U.S. Route 25, the United States highway route that passes in front of the original Sanders Café in Kentucky where the good Colonel first began selling fried chicken. On their website, KFC Japan explains that they wanted to create an atmosphere reminiscent of “Good ‘ol America,” where customers can relax and enjoy Sanders’ Original Recipe in a new style.
The ROUTE 25 food menu features a number original dishes, including pizza, pasta and deserts, as well as a few standard KFC items. The drink menu keeps it classy with primarily whiskey-based cocktails like Jack and Coke, and slightly foofy with Mint Sparkle, an “easy-to-drink” Japanese variation of the Kentucky state favorite, Early Times Mint Julep.
We took a trip to Shimokitazawa on opening day to sample that ‘ol Midwestern food, drink and atmosphere, and the place was packed to capacity with people standing around chatting with a chicken leg in one hand and cocktail glass in the other. Your reporter started out with a beer and a piece of Original Recipe Chicken — delicious, as to be expected — before moving on to one of the original items that had caught my eye: “Pizza With 6 Kinds Of Cheese And Maple Syrup.”
If there is one thing to order from the Route 25 menu, it is this pizza. Six varieties of cheese baked onto a thin pizza crust and topped with a generous helping of maple syrup is probably the best thing that’s happened to my mouth in years. Get to Route 25 with some buddies and order this pizza and a drink now (assuming now is after 5 p.m.).
The Shimokitazawa location was chosen for ease of access and its popularity with students and trendy young people, the customer base KFC Japan hopes to appeal to with ROUTE 25. More ROUTE 25 restaurants are in the works, but don’t expect to see one crop up above your backcountry Kentucky Fried Chicken: KFC Japan plans to keep the stores limited to shopping and entertainment districts in Tokyo.
[Address] 2-13-7 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
[Hours] KFC: 7:00-22:30, ROUTE25: 17:00-23:00
Route 25 Official Site (Menu available in English)