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Chicken Lovers proves food can be fast, healthy

Since 1983, Chicken...

By Kathianne Boniello

Anyone seeking an alternative to greasy fast food and expensive salads should look no further than Chicken Lovers on Northern Boulevard in Bayside, where owner Peter Bounougias has been serving up healthy meals for the last 15 years.

Since 1983, Chicken Lovers at 215-07 Northern Blvd. has given people the chance to try low-fat, tasty chicken dishes for a modest price, said Bounougias, who runs the business with his family.

“We’ve been doing this type of cooking long before Boston Market,” he said of the fast food chain that gives customers a choice of a main dish with two side orders. “Our chicken really is healthier than anything else on the market.”

When Bounougias started his business, which began as Chirpin’ Chicken, with a cousin on Northern Boulevard, he joined with his family in a venture that has since spread throughout Manhattan and Queens. Between Chirpin’ Chicken and Chicken Lovers, Bounougias said, the eatery also has locations in western Queens.

With a variety of grilled chicken items and about 20 side dishes to choose from, no one could go hungry at Chicken Lovers.

To make a healthier fast food meal, said Bounougias, who lives in Little Neck with his family, Chicken Lovers uses a special cooking process.

“Our chicken is hand rotated,” he said. “The fat just drips right off.”

On a wide grill in the front of the store Chicken Lovers cooks a range of food out of sight of customers, who can choose to either get their meals to go or to stay in a homey eating area.

The 20 sides dishes, which include oven-roasted red potatoes, rice pilaf, two types of Greek salad, macaroni and cheese, and bean salad, are also offered with sandwiches and combination meals.

Surrounded by green-checkered tablecloths, brightly colored wallpaper, and a number of plants, a customer finds sitting down for a meal at Chicken Lovers is a pleasant experience.

But one doesn’t have to go to the store to have the Chicken Lovers experience because the eatery also provides local deliveries and does caters large parties.

“We’re the best buy in town if you ask me,” Bounougias said with a laugh.

One of the appealing things about Chicken Lovers, Bounougias said, is that everything is homemade.

“There are no preservatives,” he said proudly.

One homemade item is a new dessert made by Bounougias’ wife, Betty, called Apple Blueberry Cobbler.

In addition to chicken, the store also has baby back barbecue ribs, shrimp, fish filet, and spinach and chicken pies.

Bounougias had a simple answer to explain Chicken Lovers’ success.

“People enjoy healthy food,” he said. “We’re really careful about the food we serve.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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