This past weekend, I played a part in a proposal that happened right as of the bride-to-be was chowing down on the best fried chicken in St. Louis, at Southern. Michael and Susan are die-hard fried chicken fans (especially Susan!) so it only seemed fitting for them to become engaged amidst a finger-licking, fried chicken meal being shared together. These two are the absolute cutest, and I can’t wait to spill the beans about how they met, their favorite fried-chicken joints and Michael’s “Operation CluckinHot” proposal plan!
Susan and Michael met online, while they were both living in Philadelphia. They began dating shortly after, and have now been together for three years. The two of them have shared many meals together in search of the best friend chicken around. They have visited several restaurants, including Prince’s in Nashville, before concluding that Southern in St. Louis is the best they’ve ever tasted. With that in mind, Michael decided that Southern would be the best place for him to propose to Susan! Read Michael’s full proposal story below:
“We discoverd Southern when I moved to St. Louis two years ago because Susan and I wanted to try the famous ribs at Pappy’s, but the line was too long. We instead went next door to Southern, where the reasonable wait belied the beatific smile with which we would depart their hot chicken experience. It isn’t good–it’s possibly the best Nashville hot chicken in the world.
I know because my fiancé is obsessed with fried chicken: traditional southern, country, Korean, Taiwanese, broasted, you name it. Inspired by our first Revelation at Southern, we made a weekend pilgrimage to Nashville in search of the source, to pay our respects to the masters. We had fried chicken five-out-of-six meals, including Hattie B’s and, of course, where Nashville hot chicken all started, the original Prince’s. We were impressed, our taste buds were delighted, but what really amazed us was that the chicken at Southern was better. Like Rick Lewis had dueled banjos with the devil and emerged with his soul and the best hot chicken recipe between heaven and hell.
We returned to St. Louis with an even greater appreciation for this gem glistening at our oily fingertips. Since then, every time Susan comes to visit, we have to stop at Southern for four or five pieces of the dark meat (hers “hot,” mine “medium”), a couple sides and some Urban Chestnut or Four Hands brews. When friends and relatives come through town, I take them here. When Susan’s colleagues come in on business, she sends them here. It has become our favorite restaurant in town.
So when it came time to ask this amazing woman if she would spend the rest of her life eating chicken with me, I knew we had to do it here. Three months out, I asked my mom for the ring my grandfather gave to my grandmother in 1936. Two months out, I started conspiring with Susan’s friends about what kind of proposal she wanted, and they told me “Operation CluckinHot” was a go. Over Thanksgiving, I asked Susan’s parents for her hand and swore them to secrecy. A few weeks before the date, I dropped a note on the restaurant website’s contact form and Billy the manager got back to me the next day to set up a phone call, excited to be a part of this special day. Apparently, nobody had ever proposed at Southern before, but Billy was happy to help me realize my modest vision and even had some great suggestions which we incorporated into the surprise. Day-of, Billy and his staff were also extremely helpful dealing with champagne and plastic flute drop-off as well as hooking up my friend Ken (ring-bearer and master of ceremonies) and Allison (professional surprise engagement ninja photographer) with uniforms so that Susan wouldn’t suspect anything was out of the lip-smacking, finger-licking ordinary.”
Susan’s favorite part about the proposal? It was seeing the photo of her licking her fingers, looking completely shocked, while Michael was holding out the ring for her (See below!). Michael and Susan share a mutual love and appreciation for each other’s passions, thoughtfulness, commitment to social justice, intellectual curiosity, sense of humor, positive attitude and love of life.
I so enjoyed being their “surprise engagement ninja photographer” and am eternally grateful to them for introducing me to the best fried chicken around. If you need me, you can find me chowing down at Southern.