Butterfingers a 'Big' deal: Just ask John Boy and Billy

Dennis Butterfield, owner of Butterfingers Crazy Chicken, does a lot of catering with his business and his mobile kitchen. And he'll go a long way for a job.

Like the time, last June, when he drove the trailer to Charlotte, N.C., to feed the cast and crew of the "John Boy & Billy Big Show" radio program.

The long-distance gig came about when comedian Tim Wilson, a former Columbusite and Butterfield's old neighbor, kept plugging Butterfingers on the air. Finally, the radio hosts wanted to know what the fuss was all about and hired Butterfield to cater the show.

But most of Butterfingers' business springs from the Warm Springs Road store, inside an old Gabby's Diner.

"We appeal to the working class, middle class guy, and we also have a lot of the businesses around here come in for lunchtime," said Butterfield, who managed Applebee's restaurants for 13 years.

The business' core is chicken fingers, "But it's tailgating season, and that means the wings pick up," he said. "They travel well. The lemon-pepper wings, they'll stay crispy for hours."

The restaurant is cozy, with seating for just 40, so more than half their business is takeout. But dine-in specials keep the booths full, and the kitchen crew keeps meals quick.

"We try to get you in and out in 30 minutes," Butterfield said. "You don't have to be a giant place to do good business."

BUTTERFINGERS CRAZY CHICKEN641 Warm Springs Road, 706-568-1132

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Atmosphere: Headquartered in one of the old Gabby's Diner buildings, Butterfingers still feels very much like an old-time diner — from the smell of delicious things in the fryers to the long counters and booth seats.

Beverages: Soft drinks by the bottle or fountain, or sweet tea by the gallon.

Main dishes: Wings and chicken fingers are the Butterfingers' bread-and-butter. Chicken can come mild, regular and hot, of course, but the made-from-scratch sauces also include unusual flavors like tequila lime; a dark, spicy-sweet "island burn"; lemon pepper; cajun; honey mustard; golden barbecue; and a lip-stinging hot sauce called Ole #11 — named for the fire station next door. Chicken finger plates start at about $4.50, and 10 meaty wings will set you back $6.29. The half-pound angus burger — $4.79 on its own or $6.37 with fries and cheese — also draws raves. There are daily specials for in-house diners, including all-you-can-eat wings for $8.49 on Wednesdays.

Sides: Homemade chicken salad is available for about $4 a half-pint. Deviled eggs are two for a buck. A basket of fries is $1.41.

Of note: Pints of wing sauce and honey mustard are available for about $4. Kids combos with wings, chicken fingers or cheese sticks, paired with fries and a drink, are $3.29.

Specialty diets: Low-fat eaters can opt for grilled chicken — on sandwiches, in wraps or on salads.

What to wear: It's as casual as a fried chicken restaurant ought to be.