Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — The Golden Drumstick

golden drumstick

Did your family do this? You piled in the car, went for a Sunday afternoon drive through Mill Creek Park, and ended up at the Golden Drumstick Restaurant on the corner of Market and Midlothian. It had that art-deco look that reminded you of the 20th Century Restaurant (there was a reason for that).

I still think of their chicken as some of the best I’ve eaten. It had a breaded coating and seasoning that defined fried chicken for me. The Colonel’s just doesn’t hold a candle to it, at least in my memory. They had these big pieces of fried potatoes, cole slaw and hot biscuits with honey–and the biscuits had taste!

I discovered that our Golden Drumstick Restaurant was not the first but was inspired by Golden Drumstick Restaurants in Arizona.  I found this article online about one in Flagstaff, Arizona that mentions other locations, including the Youngstown location. Harry and Faye Malkoff, who established the 20th Century, spotted one of the Arizona restaurants and even copied the building design to bring it back to Youngstown, opening the restaurant on the south side, just outside the Youngstown city limits.

According to Classic Restaurants of Youngstown (a treasure trove of information about Youngstown restaurants past and present), the Malkoff’s found the chicken recipe at a Texas restaurant called Gaylord’s. They advertised the chicken as “the best fried chicken this side of chicken heaven.” I think most of us growing up around Youngstown would agree.

The restaurant had both a dine in and carryout operation. We always did carryout. The problem was that the smell of the chicken would drive you crazy and it was hard to resist pulling out a drumstick on the way home. Sometimes, with friends, you would just sit in your car and eat, and then run over to Handel’s for some ice cream. Life couldn’t get much better.

Eventually the Malkoff’s rented the restaurant to other owners for about ten years until it was sold to First Federal Savings. It is unclear to me, but it appears their may have been an attempt by Joseph Levy to combine a Golden Drumstick-20th Century on the site that did not work out. First Federal was eventually taken over and ended operations in 2008.

I find myself wondering sometimes what happened to that recipe. I can’t help but think that some savvy entrepreneur could give KFC a run for its money. But maybe it is better to treasure the memory of the smell and taste of Golden Drumstick chicken.

What are your memories of The Golden Drumstick?


5 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — The Golden Drumstick

  1. My aunt and uncle introduced me to them. You are was the most delicious chicken you could find. The next best fried chicken was found at Bob’s Big Boy chain Restaurants. They also served their plate with a toasted honey and buttered English Muffin. If memory serves me right, I believe I also learned to love shrimp cocktail at the Golden Drumstick.

  2. I certainly remember going there as a child (making the trip over from Sharpsville/Sharon PA on Sundays), and yes the chicken was really delicious. I am thinking that the breading perhaps had some honey in it? It seemed to have that slightly sweet taste to it. Having honey for the biscuits seemed like such a luxury!
    I think I’m correct in recalling that the kids portions came served in these little paper gondola boats, or maybe they were buses or railroad cars? Or perhaps all of them?

  3. This is a memory that makes me feel very emotional. I a younger sister and brother and on a Sunday afternoon about every other month my family would all get into my dad’s car to go to whatever interesting destination that Dad had in mind. But our first stop was the Golden Drumstick for a boxed chicken lunch that we are in the car on our way. I always asked for thighs and biscuits with honey. (I still do) I think I was 7-8 years old.
    Now when you get buiscuits and honey *** you get fake honey. I got a jar of raw honey and one taste of it brought me back to the Golden Drumstick. 🤗🤩

  4. One of the best times I remember was mom getting take out from there and bringing it home for a ‘family style picnicking on a blanket on the floor” . what a treat it was in the 60’s as a kid.

    just a day ago I was mentioning this place to my wife, but could not remember its name, thus i found your blog posting via searching for old restaurant y town

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