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Place to get the basics


It's Friday night, you're in Parkville and you have the munchies. Where do you go?

Personally, I can't think of a better place to head than Godfrey's Express.

We all know a place like Godfrey's - low-cost, unpretentious and just competent enough to allow you to consider a second or third trip.

Godfrey's occupies a modest white building on a busy stretch of Taylor Avenue. But the owners have taken steps to spruce up the place, adding lots of red and green neon lights on the facade.

Inside, a few hanging plants give the small room a little life, as do not one but two of those pudgy Italian chef statues. Placing our usual enormous order was a bit of an ordeal, but it turned out the server was working only her second day there.

The menu at Godfrey's focuses on the basics - burgers, chicken wings and ribs. Our group of tasters tore through everything, with few complaints - but also with few raves.

The opening course of Texas chili ($2.95) was encouraging - a nice mix of meat, beans and lots of hot pepper (not to mention a separate plastic container of diced jalapenos).

From the wings menu, we tried an order of plain wings ($5.95), which were meaty enough. A 10-piece order of Damien's wings ($6.19) was hot and spicy, as advertised.

A rib dinner ($13.95) had tender ribs drenched in a slightly tangy sauce - nothing special, but perfectly edible.

A barbecue pulled-pork sandwich ($4.95) had more of the same barbecue sauce and was, once again, more than adequate. And we liked a turkey Reuben ($4.75), which included chopped turkey, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on rye.

Finally, the Goucher burger ($3.95) was a pleasing creation featuring bacon and cheese. (Someone will have to explain to me the association of bacon and cheese and Goucher College.)

Godfrey's imports desserts from an outside bakery and displays them in a refrigerated case. We opted for the chocolate-peanut butter pie ($2.66), which turned out to be a creamy concoction that provided a sweet counterpart to all the greasy and spicy food. Godfrey's also sells snowballs and ice cream.

There's parking out front.

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Godfrey's Express

Food: ** 1/2 (2 1/2 STARS)

Service: ** 1/2 (2 1/2 STARS)

Waiting area: *** (3 STARS)

Parking: *** (3 STARS)

Where: 1803 Taylor Ave., Parkville

Phone: 410-668-7421

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Chicken wings, sandwiches, ribs, soups, subs and burgers, $1.95 to $13.95; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: ****; Good:***; Fair or uneven:**; Poor:*

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