Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of chicken. A previous life that involved having all possible variations on how chicken could be presented is the culprit for this visceral dislike for poultry. So when Dad Vivant suggested us checking out Wilma Jean, I have to admit that I put off the visit as much as I could. But then, we found ourselves h-angry on a weekend afternoon at that witching hour in which restaurants had just closed for brunch and had not opened for dinner yet. And Wilma Jean was open and it seemed a great idea to give it a shot.
I immediately took a liking to the space: as it is not too big, the bar is appropriately sized for the location, with its vintage dark wood, sitting only 4 customers. The white topped tables that seem to be communal, have vintage looking school chairs to match and there are a couple of tables against the big windows of what used to be a frame shop. All of this works perfectly with the white washed exposed brick walls and the old tiled floor. Not only the space has this beautifully coordinated vintage look but it is also super kid friendly. They do have highchairs and it seems to be (Brooklyn style) family central: dads sporting facial hair, Vans and black beanies with super cute babies and toddlers who don’t wear light blue or bubblegum pink along with fashionable tatt’ed up moms in skinny jeans, Fryes and cool glasses. We didn’t see any strollers, but given the size of the establishment, our recommendation would be to forgo it or bring a folding one.
They have a happy hour every day from 3-6 with $4 draft beers, which is perfect for those of us that have to do early dinners (and can use a beer at that time of the day). They don’t have a kids menu but then, who doesn’t like fried chicken (except for me, that is)? They also have kid approved sides like mac and cheese or tater tots and for those of us who would rather have something other than chicken, they have burgers, veggie burgers and a variety of appetizers that do not involved our winged friends.
Photo by: David Castillo
We went with the chicken dinner: fried breast, thigh and drumstick with coleslaw and one side (tater tots). I couldn’t help noticing (and ordering) the cornmeal encrusted Virginia oysters with Mississippi comeback sauce. All of it accompanied by two ice-cold beers for the parents and lemonade for the girls. The oysters were delicious and the sauce had a kick without being overly spicy. The lemonade was refreshing, with the perfect amount of tartness and not too sweet: an instant hit with the girls. And then, the chicken. For someone who is not crazy about poultry, I can say that the chicken was tender, moist and very tasty. According to Dad Vivant, it was a very decent fried chicken for New York standards. Plus, the music was really good. Not a single bad song the whole time we were there.
The bathroom is clean and roomy with old Johnny Cash albums on the wall. It is surprising that, given the amounts of families we always see there, it doesn’t have a changing table.
345 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Tuesday – Sunday: 11:00am – 10:00pm