The spirit of Elvis, or perhaps the spirit of his stomach, lives on at King Chicken Fillin’ Station in Tupelo, Miss. A mural with his likeness and the phrase “Eat Like a King” adorn one wall.
Chef Mitchell McCamey, who is also co-owner, has spent 24 years in the restaurant business. He has studied fine dining under Chris Hastings, a proponent of farm-to-table. McCamey has two other restaurants: Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen and The Neon Pig, both in Tupelo. Co-owner Joe Lowder has a doctorate in education and is an assistant dean at a local college.
King Chicken serves smoked, grilled and fried chicken and specialty sandwiches with a variety of sauces. The signature sandwich, the Mitchwich, features smoked pulled chicken, slaw, white and honey mustard barbecue sauces, pickles, bacon and cheese. The restaurant makes its own pickles. It has a smoker outside for burgers and more chicken. It hosts a brisket brunch with chicken and waffles and a steak night.
The location, built in 1944, still sells gas out front, and the 800-square-foot building houses the restaurant and a basic convenience store offering a limited amount of candy, chips and cigarettes. It doesn’t have fountain drinks or coffee—diners get their beverages from the cold vault.
McCamey is passionate about King Chicken’s customers.
“We are community people. We stay locked and loaded in it all the time.”
“They are my favorite thing about it,” he says. “It’s white-collar to blue-collar. My other places don’t feed a ton of factory workers or UPS drivers, but we get a lot of those people in King Chicken. We get kids, we get older people. We’re located close to a school.
“It’s a place for everybody,” he says. “We are community people. We stay locked and loaded in it all the time. We wouldn’t be here without them.”