Leghorn Chicken Opens Thursday in Ukrainian Village

By Alisa Hauser on March 6, 2014 8:40am 

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 Inside Leghorn Chicken, 959 N. Western Ave.
Leghorn Chicken. 959 N. Western Ave.
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A much-anticipated casual corner eatery specializing in fried chicken sandwiches plans to open Thursday and though there are two options for poultry cuts, the head chef is recommending the thigh over the breast.

"I like them both but the thigh is fattier, more taste," said chef Sieger Bayer.

Located in a light-filled space with tin ceilings on the southeast corner of Western Avenue and Augusta Boulevard in Ukrainian Village, Leghorn Chicken at 959 N. Western Ave. has bold messages like "Fried Chicken vs. the World" and "Make Pickles Not War" in its window.

Leghorn Chicken, which offers seats for 22 patrons and is BYOB, plans to open at 11 a.m. daily and will stay open until the chicken runs out, according to its Facebook Page.

The eatery will also offer healthier fare like grilled chicken bowls and kale salad.

For poultry, the storefront restaurant's simple one-page menu offers three options, from the way the chicken is prepared (pickle-brined or Nashville Hot), to one of two cuts (thigh or breast) and lastly, the type of sandwich (buttermilk biscuit or bun).

Three days each week there will be daily specials such as Fried Chicken Skins (Monday), Chicken Fried Fries (Tuesday) and Fried Chicken Nuggets (Wednesday).

All sandwiches are $6 and are topped with dill pickles. Extra sandwich toppings include cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, tomato, house-made mayo or ranch, mustard, onion.  A wide range of everyday sides run the gamut from fresh fruit, potato salad and vegetable slaw to french fries and biscuits.

To wash everything down, there's root beer and cream soda on tap, served in frosty mugs, "fresh lemon shake-ups," and iced tea.

View the full menu at leghornchicken.com/eat-together.

Jared Van Camp, one of Leghorn's four partner-owners, said Wednesday that fried pickles were removed from a previous menu draft because there were already too many fried side options, such as hush puppies and fries. They replaced the battered and fried pickles with organic kale salad. 

 Leghorn Chicken's chef Sieger Bayer (l.) and Jared Van Camp from Element Collective, owners of the new fried chicken restaurant at 959 N. Western Ave.
Leghorn Chicken's chef Sieger Bayer (l.) and Jared Van Camp from Element Collective, owners of the new fried chicken restaurant at 959 N. Western Ave.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

For those still looking for a pickle fix, whole pickles are available for $2 each.

For more health conscious eaters, Leghorn offers a Grilled Chicken Bowl with quinoa, kale, carrots, cucumbers and blue cheese for $8.

For dessert there's peanut butter oatmeal cookies topped with burnt sugar fluff for $2.

Billing itself as a "socially conscious chicken shop" for the way it sources chicken from local farmers and its plans to donate to organizations that support gay rights, Leghorn Chicken is owned by Element Collective (Chris Dexter, Chris Freeman, Van Camp and John Warken).

In about three weeks, the restaurant will begin serving branded birth control, too, in the form of free condoms at its front counter.

When asked if the birth control had anything to do with a controversial Chick-Fil-A stance on same-sex marriages, Camp said people were free to interpret it however they wanted.

What is known, however, is that the restaurant draws its name from a heritage breed of chicken that first came to the United States in the mid-19th century and became "the overworked stalwart of the vast commercial egg industry" due to their "prolific capacity to lay eggs." 

In recent years, the Leghorn breed has been raised more humanely on small farms across the country.

Leghorn Chicken, which will bring 20 jobs to the area, according to Camp, joins other Western Avenue hipster haunts including Cafe Ballou, the Lockdown, Empty Bottle and The Sportsman's Club, a bar that reopened in December at 958 N. Western Ave., directly across from Leghorn Chicken.

"The area is blowing up. We love this area," Camp said. 

In the summer months, Camp said the proximity to The Sportsman's Club, which does not serve food, might inspire Leghorn to hire a server to bring chicken sandwiches back and forth across Western Avenue, kind of like "Hipster Frogger," he joked.

Leghorn Chicken, 959 N. Western Ave. Cash only, BYOB. Ph: 773-394-4444. For updates, follow the restaurant on Twitter @LeghornChicken or Facebook.

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