Rips Tavern, located off of Interstate 80 in the small town of Ladd (population 1,200), has been a magnet for fried chicken fanatics for several generations. This unassuming tavern has made appearances on culinary television shows, been favorably written up in major food blogs and has built a dedicated fan base that drives from states away just to enjoy their truly classic fried chicken.
In 1934, one year after the repeal of prohibition, Silvio “Rip” Gualandri and his wife, Emma, opened up a small bar called The Old Tin Front in Ladd, then a bustling coal mining town. To differentiate themselves from competing saloons, Gualandri began offering free deep-fried chicken with the purchase of every drink.
Soon, the popularity of this signature dish was bringing in too many customers for The Old Tin Front to accommodate, so Gualandri moved the business to a larger building across the street in 1936. He gave the operation its new name, Rip’s Tavern, and a new focus, their signature deep-fried chicken.