I had to make an overnight trip to the United States to address some Alabama business with The Red Wolf. On the drive back to Atlanta for the flight out of Hartsfield-Jackson, I was listening to one of the rap channels on SiriusXM, and the Ludacris & Timbaland collaboration, “Phat Rabbit”, was playing. There was a part in the track where Ludacris said “but beginners give me a thigh, breast, and leg like Mrs. Winner”. I got a chuckle out of it but I was instantly reminded of one of my low-key favorite restaurants. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Mrs. Winners Chicken & Biscuits.
How I first came across this moment? I can’t put my finger on the exact date and year but my best guess would be that I was introduced to Mrs. Winners between ages 4 and 6. I do recall seeing their infamous red takeout boxes when I lived with Grandma Sallie during my year at Glen Iris Elementary.
What it meant to me then? I’m sure it didn’t mean anything more than what it was back then: a food spot…and I ate a lot as a young child although that’s definitely never been reflected on the scales. As I grew older, it became something of an alternative to Lee’s or Green Acres when my mother wasn’t actually making chicken herself. It really took off with me in 2001, when I transferred from Parker High to Huffman High. I would ride the 25-Center Point all the way around to Jefferson State Community College before getting off a block away from Huffman on the inbound. I was kinda sweet on one of the junior college chicks. Anyway, the driver would always stop at the Mrs. Winners location on Center Point Parkway to get a quick breakfast or a coffee. On one of those occasions, I asked if I could get off the bus and get something and he allowed me to. I got a cinnamon roll and fell in love. That was pretty much my routine every day until I acquired The Deuce the next year. The Center Point Parkway drops in ceased but I always stopped in at the location off I-65 adjacent to the Adams Inn as I made my Westside to Eastside drive through the city to school. My friend, Trey, always hooked me up with a fresh cinnamon roll with extra icing. It was heavenly.
What it means to me now? The Mrs. Winners experience fizzled out for me when I left for college and the Air Force. When I would come home for visits, I noticed that many of the locations were closing, and eventually only the location off I-65 remained…as a combo store with Sneaky Pete’s. Today, that location has also closed and the entire experience has become extinct for me. But at its height, it was my go-to place for cinnamon rolls. They arguably have the best ever.