One of the most unique restaurants in the United States can be found in the unlikely town of Potterville, Michigan. Joe’s Gizzard City, the only “Gizzard City” in the world (as per their website), specializes in deep-fried chicken gizzards, as well as other fried foods and burgers. Gizzards are the organs that are found in the chickens’ digestive tract and are an oddity not served at many restaurants!
Joe’s Gizzard City has been family owned and operated for 51 years. Opened in 1960 by Ron and Ruby Bristol, it was originally the Potterville Inn, which was known for amazing chicken dinners long before the gizzard craze took off. In 1968, Ron’s son Joe and his wife Sarah took over and changed the name to Joe’s Potterville Inn until 1999 when it finally grew into the Joe’s Gizzard City of today.
The Bristols wanted to make food that they enjoyed but that was also unique from the countless other chicken restaurants around the country. With the special “Joe’s Famous Batter Mix”, they created the world’s best gizzards, chicken dinners, deep-fried desserts, and burgers. They succeeded so well in attaining uniqueness that Guy Fieri chose to feature Joe’s Gizzard City on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (Food Network Channel). During the episode, Guy created the Triple “D” Burger, which is a completely deep-fried Joe’s Gizzard City burger, guaranteed to make your stomach smile.
Joe Bristol is also the director of Gizzard Fest. Previously known as Potterville Days, the Gizzard Fest is Potterville’s annual festival put on by the Potterville Chamber of Commerce. Since the city is known for being the home to Joe’s Gizzard City, the name change of the festival, which happened 12 years ago, not only helps to promote the city of Potterville but the restaurant as well. Other local businesses participate during the weekend, making it a city-wide festival that lasts Thursday, June 9th through Saturday, June 11th. Of course, there is a gizzard eating contest for the daring, but there is also a three-on-three basketball tournament, a 5K run/walk, Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, amusement park rides, live entertainment, and plenty of other fun activities that the whole family can take part in. “[Of this year’s Gizzard Fest] It was a really fun day! I enjoyed the company and the new experience!” said first-time Gizzard Fest goer, Dan Churchill from Lansing. This year’s Gizzard Fest was an event full of laughter, fun, and entertainment that left people with full bellies and great memories!
The famous gizzards are something that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime; they are juicy, chewy, and the crispy batter makes them all the more delicious. Although they don’t taste like chicken, they pack a unique flavor punch. Going to Joe’s Gizzard City is an unmatched experience that everyone will enjoy! ~Leighanna Whiting, Regional Director