Tenders: Family Restaurant Review

As a busy mom of three children, I’m all about making things simple. That’s why Tenders Fresh Foods is such a gem when dining out. The menu has only three options: chicken tenders, a chicken sandwich and a pork loin sandwich. On Statesville Road in Cornelius, Tenders promises customers fresh, freezer-free food … and it’s a freshness you can taste. Don’t think of the chicken tenders as kiddie food —my children, of course, love them, but my husband and I think the chicken tenders are hands down the best item on the menu. Paired with a homemade sauce (chipotle BBQ, honey mustard or creamy garlic), it’s a delight to the taste buds. The lightly breaded fingers are tender, juicy and have the perfect amount of seasoning. Given the choice of the two sandwiches, which come fried or grilled, I recommend the pork loin sandwich. The pork filet is moist and not overdone like pork sandwiches often are. Topped with a mayo-mustard dressing and pickles, it’s a nice twist on the typical sandwich. The chicken sandwich is satisfying, but no match for the chicken tenders. Sides include skinny, hand-cut fries that are far more scrumptious than any you’ll find at a fast food chain. My children are fans of the fresh-sliced apples with toffee dip. The dessert-like dip is so tasty, my son insists on finishing any remaining dip with his fingers. If you ask my kids about their favorite menu item though, they’ll enthusiastically say milkshakes. Though delicious, the shakes are rather large for a younger child. I wish child-sized shakes were available. From a dining perspective, Tenders is perfect for families with small children because service is fast and the atmosphere is causal and low key. The interior is so white and pristine, you’d think you’re stepping into an operating room. Eating outside on the red picnic tables is a must on beautiful Carolina days. Umbrellas provide shading, and the picnic area is fenced so little ones can’t escape.



The Chow Down: Dollar Deal: $1.75-$7 Décor/Atmosphere: Plain/no fuss and very clean Kids’ Menu: $4 for one chicken tender with a side and drink

Amenities: High chairs

Got Milk/Juice: Juice boxes and homemade lemonade; no milk Phone: 704-895-6017 Web site: www.tendersfreshfood.com