Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

Chicken Masters. Who hasn’t heard of it? It’s been an institution in Sheepshead Bay for 14 years, but by including its previous incarnation as Well Bred Chicken, Vinnie and his crew have been serving fried chicken, burgers, ribs and more to  the residents of Sheepshead Bay for over 30 years! What? You haven’t heard of Chicken Masters? How about Eat My Chicken? Yeah, that’s the place; the place that stuffs two or three menus in my door each week which I quickly discard. Maybe they should try advertising on Sheepshead Bites instead!

I’ve had Vinnie’s fried chicken many times, but this week my inner child was being a brat. It wanted chicken nuggets: the lovingly deep fried morsels of breaded white meat chicken that every child craves. “But wait,” nagged my inner doctor.“Where’s the fruit and vegetables? You’re not a little kid anymore.” Damn him.

So I perused the menu and came up with the perfect solution: the Nugget Lunch ($5.30, add a dollar after 3:30 p.m.). Three different types of deep fried nuggets and two sides. The nugget lunch includes four each of chicken nuggets, corn nuggets and apple pie nuggets. Meat, vegetables and fruit, all on one plate. What more could my inner doctor want?

My inner child was satiated by the chicken nuggets, my inner food critic by the corn nuggets and my inner snob, snubbed the apple pie nuggets. My inner doctor? Well, now he’s whining something about “fried food.” There’s just no pleasing some people.

Chicken Masters, 1201 Avenue Z, (718) 648-3966.

Chicken Masters on Urbanspoon

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  • Animo916

    To the best of my knowledge, Vinny was not associated with Well Bred Chicken. The owner of Well Bred was named Manny. I worked at Well Bred on & off for several years and never saw Vinny in there at any time. At the same time Well Bred was in existence, Vinny had a place under the station, I believe called Vinny’s Express. It was where the 2nd bagel store, now pastry shop? is located. .

    • Jal5503

      When Manny sold to Vinny he “worked” there a month or so then decided to change the name.

      • Chknmstr264

        Sorry wrong again Manny sold it to Jack fron the Town Cafe who had his son Freedy and daughter Lori operate it.I then bought it from Jack and re-invented it.

        • Anonymous

          And improved it in my opinion.

      • Cheeri01026

        what are the quotation marks about??? Unless you are implying he stills “works” there 15 years later…get your facts straight

    • Chknmstr264

      It was called Vinnies Bay Station. No association with well bred chicken although I knew and was friendly with Manny.

  • Granthefotto

    donnt get to hyped boutthis placee, it’s ook but not amazing either.

    • Cheeri01026

      next time use spell check then maybe someone will take you seriously

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1098619556 Anonymous

    This place has gone downhill since it was well bred chicken and Manny used to own it! The prices have been rising while the food has gotten considerably worse. I stopped eating there a looooooooong time ago.

    • a good neighbor

      so McDonald’s nuggets are better then?

    • Jal5503

      WOW someone who agrees with me….MANNY ROCKED….held the prices…..NO DELIVERY CHARGE !!! The JUMBO Shrimps are rather SHRIMPY at a JUMBO price…Guess thats what they mean.

      • Cheeri01026

        you are also talking about a diferrent time..it was easier for small businesses to keep prices at a minimum bc they didnt have the mark up from the distributors amongst other factors…everyone thinks its the ‘money hungry’ owners who raise prices for their own benefit but it goes a lot deeper than that…Vinnie raises his prices every year or so (a measley 10 cents I might add) to keep his head above water..financially speaking he is not rich by a long shot (just look at the car he driveS) but this is what NYC is doing to small businesses so take it up with Bloomberg not vinnie

  • tJJJ

    i remember when vinny used to crawl around the bay rd as a heroin addict thief years ago. good to see he cleaned up. but i wouldnt trust him with my food. the place is nothing special and over priced. they stay in business because party gym across the street caters daily. i know, i live in the building next door.

    • Granthefotto

      i must be your neighbor.

      • DSmartOne

        My sympathies.

    • Vinnie Mazzone

      Sorry your misinformed, I NEVER shot HEROIN, Even I had my LIMITATIONS!!!! Thats Over 22 years ago, What I contribute to the Community far surpasses the harm I’ve done to MYSELF all those many years ago. I’d appreciate an ADULT conversation with you to CORRECT any MIsinformation you’ve been carrying ALL these years. I LIVE today in the SPIRIT of “LOVE and SERVICE” through a place called CHICKEN MASTERS. SINCERELY YOURS whoever you are VINNIE MAZZONE

    • dianenyc

      tJJJ,

      Vinny is my brother-in-law, so I remember the days you’re alluding to. He’s not the same man and hasn’t been for decades. He is kind, loving, responsible and respectful to every man, woman and child who is lucky enough to meet him. The only reminders of that long ago time are his never-failing gratitude and humility. He wears them both cheerfully and well.

      I sincerely hope that the people in your life can give you as good a reference.

    • Diane

      I know Vinnie my whole life and HEROIN and Vinnie have never met I know because he is my brother. My brother has done so much for the community that is never spoken of because he does whatever he does from his heart, not for accolades. Sorry you have all this misinformation, or just have such a jealously towards Vinnie. I’m even sorrier for you that you have not been blessed with having Vinnie be a part of your life. I am blessed and I am PROUD to have my brother- Love You Vinnie

    • DSmartOne

      I’ve been going to Chicken Masters for over 15 years now, and will continue to travel all the way from Putnam County for that delicious chicken, those yummy poppers and scrumptious ribs. Not to mention the sweet potato fries – delish!! All at a reasonable price. From the second you walk in the door, Vinnie makes you feel like you’re at home. He has a friendly disposition and a warm heart. He is also an advocate for the small business owner, as so many of us are struggling in this economy.
      And not only would I trust him with my food I have also trusted him with my children! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK VINNIE!!!!! Now I’m hungry – guess I’ll be heading down to Brooklyn for some dinner tonight. I’ll see you in 2 hours Vin! :-)

      • Granthefotto

        all these people trying to make their family business sound good.

    • Cheeri01026

      1st of all let me start by saying how ascenine this comment actually is. Normally a defensive argument is not neccessary when it pertains to Vinnie because his actions speak volumes (unlike your pathetic post). It is no one’s business what occurred in Vinnie’s personal life 20+ yrs ago but there is no shame in making a few mistakes along the way..i’m sure if we delved into your past you have a few skeletons in your closet. Vinnie does not owe you any explanation but as a courtesy to our neighborhood friends and patrons people have responded to your post, inlcuding myself. Let me set the record straight..if you and your pal Granthefotto were in fact Vinnie’s neighbor’s you would see what a hardworking, salt-of-the Earth man he is. He is in that store 14hrs a day, 7 days a week with no vactaions or weekends off to look forward to and he works with a smile! He has an obligation and knows the people in Sjeepshead Bay count on him for lunch/dinner or even a friendly ear. Also being his ‘neighbor’ wouldn’t you know he’s been living a sober life for 20+ yrs now?! The chicken store alone has been in business for 15 yrs now but I guess you wouldn’t realize it since its apparent your head is buried so far up your a$%. Vinnie is THE most humble, respectful, genuine man you will ever encounter. I bear no anger or ill will towards you; in fact I feel sorry for you. Sorry for the fact that you are neglecting yourself the oppurtunity to befriend one of the most spritually beautiful people God has allowed to walk this earth. I know all of this because Vinnie is my dad.

    • TheMa

      I think it’s about time you got your head out of the toilet—-Vinnie has done more good than anyone I know, and he does it with all his heart—–You couldn’t even wipe his shoes——Wake up and smell the roses——-by the way, have you applied for sainthood???????

  • Allanb

    I think the place is rather good. Though I prefer to order from Not Just Chicken, or I think they just changed the name to Tasty Chicken.

  • http://ericasphotos.tumblr.com/ ES

    You have got to try their wings — seriously scrumdiddliupmptious.

  • Weird News

    Good food, but definitely pricey and wtf is up with that delivery charge??

  • winson

    i love chicken masters since i was 10

  • Edlane Nyc

    Mediocre but glad there is a business surviving there.

  • Old Sheepshead Hand

    That meal described is not healthy. They offer no vegetables at this place (corn and apples hardly count as nutritious in this setting). And the prices are way overpriced for the quality of the food. But – I am glad for Vinny. He’s earned it – from the days under the train (I miss those eggs and bacon) and at Jordan’s Lobster Dock. I miss Manny too – so the spirit of Well-Bred lives on through Vinny. Remember before he moved it across Z? That place was a sweatshop!

    • Old Sheepshead Hand

      I mean the place where Chicken Masters now stands. Not the original location of Well-Bread.

  • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

    I love the corn nuggets at this place. Just awesome. The Burgers and Chicken Sandwiches are great too, but I’ll agree, the prices are just a tad too high.

  • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

    My favorite is ordering the fritters, AHEM, nuggets! Love the corn and apple! I also like to occasionally get the pizza rolls and breaded mushrooms, but while the price is a little there, I usually find it worth it since the quantity is usually pretty sizeable in comparison.

  • bk2bklyn

    Wow – Sheepshead Bites & a mention in the NY Times in same day!! That’s pretty damn good PR for a local eatery. I’ve never eaten there, but based on his health inspection grade, I just may try it – even if it is considered a little pricey.

  • bk2bklyn

    sorry – here’s the link from the NYT food section:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/dining/19grades.html?ref=dining

  • Scott

    I am always impressed when I go in to Chicken Masters by the display Vinny created showing his part in the Olympic torch relay. It also comfirms his amazing turn around from his addiction to a person who is a pillar of the community and very civic minded.
    I have only been there two or three times, but always had a quiet respect for him.

  • yuri

    A dope fiend runs this joint?!?!?!

    • nolastname

      Yuri, your comment was noted and shot down last time you posted it.
      Read all the comments and learn something.

    • Dot

      Go back to Russia Yuri!!!!

    • Dtg1325

      How easily persuaded you are. That’s what I like a man who knows what garbage he listens to!

  • Tinafg

    The ribs are to die for and the chicken is awesome. I wish they had better veggie choices tho.

  • Lucida48

    Vinnie has the biggest heart. He treats people like family when they come to his store, and I have to say it’s the best fast food I’ve ever had. Maybe it’s all the good vibes he serves it with. I have been there and seen customers interact with not only my brother, but his staff. It’s gratifying. Isn’t it wonderful that life gives us opportunities to really shine. I know my brother does. Love to you, Vinnie

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7QWK6MCTWFYFJPWO5W52QNKZ4I J S

    wow a simple food review turned into mudslinging booo you!

  • Dot

    I cannot believe how many haters there are in Brooklyn for this man who is making a living and doing the right by this neighborhood. I am amazed at how people want to degrade someone who has done such good for Sheapshead Bay. Here is a wonderful man who is putting his heart and soul into improving this neighborhood and all your haters just want to bring up his past to try to degrade him. Well, I hope that Vinnie leaves Brooklyn and brings his wonderful food to Queens. I for one know that we would love to have him here.

  • Guest

    Why all the hate for this place? Vinnie’s is simply awesome IMHO. The prices are not that high really. Many years ago I remember some other independent chicken places were maybe $1 less then Vinnie’s prices now. Sure KFC may be cheaper but let’s be honest, not by much and it’s a lot crappier. I hope he continues to serve the community for many years to come. Those sweet potato fries are great. We all know deep down if a new eatery turned up, the portions would be smaller, higher priced, bland and most likely come with an attitude.

  • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

    I’m am closing comment capabilities on this thread. The tone and subject of the conversation has become unacceptable given the nature of the article. The Bite is meant to feature locally-bought items and remind everyone what’s available in the community.

    For the record, I’ve met Vinnie several times. He had no idea we were writing this piece until after it was published. Vinnie always struck me as a great guy, very concerned about small businesses and the local economy. He also contributes to civic associations and other civic-minded ventures. I’ve heard a lot of people say things about him and the restaurant that I have seen no evidence of, or have just been plain wrong.

    If you have any questions or comments about the decision to close this thread, e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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