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The CFS at the Beehive in Albany

The Beehive in Albany serves one of the state’s greatest chicken-fried steaks. The cook when I visited was named Amanda Pearson. She got her training in the Navy where she cooked for hundreds of sailors at a time. Amanda had no qualms about sharing her rather violent recipe.

First she beats a top butt sirloin with a meat hammer until it is totally tenderized. Then she dips it in a blend of flour and breadcrumbs. And then she beats the breading into the meat so it sticks. Amanda uses such force that the flour appears to be welded to the meat. Her awesome chicken-fried steak is sort of a cross between a German schnitzel-style CFS and a West Texas pan-fried steak.

The Beehive has an unlikely history. The restaurant is owned by Ali Esfandiary, an immigrant from Iran. Ali’s father was in the Iranian military but became disenchanted with Iranian politics. The Esfandiary family fled Iran in 1969, starting with the young Ali. When Ali opened the Beehive Restaurant in 1983, he had no idea what a chicken-fried steak was. In 2007, the Esfandiary family expanded their restaurant empire by opening a second Beehive in Abilene. The two restaurants are both famous for their CFS.

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