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Honey Butter Fried Chicken Opens Saturday After Months of Anticipation

By Victoria Johnson | September 13, 2013 7:29am
 Honey Butter Fried Chicken will open Saturday at 3361 N. Elston Ave.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken
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AVONDALE — Cue the watering mouths, Honey Butter Fried Chicken will finally open its doors for dinner this Saturday.

The restaurant at 3361 N. Elston Ave. is the first from chefs Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp, the team behind the Sunday Dinner Club.

In a December interview, Cikowski told of the happy accident during a Sunday Dinner Club event that resulted in their special creation.

Some honey butter intended to top corn cakes had melted onto a batch of fried chicken — and history was made.

"I ran out to the dining room and started yelling, 'Put the butter on the chicken!' and everyone did and started freaking out," Cikowski said.

They had hoped to open their appropriately named Honey Butter Fried Chicken restaurant in the spring, but as is so often the case with new restaurants, they ran into delays.

"We wanted to make sure that it was right ... that the systems are solid and the staff well-trained," Cikowski said.

In addition to the namesake chicken, the restaurant will be serving up "farmers market-driven" vegetable dishes, including heirloom tomatoes and toasted corn with a dill vinaigrette, roasted sweet potatoes with cilantro and lime, and Chinese broccoli and goat cheese with a red pepper sauce.

For those who enjoy mac and cheese with their chicken, they'll offer a pimento mac and cheese with "garlicky bread crumbs," and "fun desserts" will include a market plum dump cake ("like a cobbler, but with cake") and chocolate toffee cookies.

The restaurant won't have a full bar, Cikowski said, but instead will have a "well-curated" one with all the necessary ingredients for their five house cocktails, such as the Smoky Derby (whiskey and grapefruit juice with a dash of smoked paprika syrup) and the Avondale Ginger Mule (Death's Door Gin, ginger, molasses, lime and mint.)

Beers will range from "economy" beers (Miller High Life, Tecate and Hamm's) to craft brews (Half Acre, Revolution, Two Brothers, 5 Rabbit and Lakefront). Wines will be supplied by Vinejoy.

Diners can opt to eat inside the dining room or out on the patio next to the enormous cooler decorated with dozens of random magnets given to the owners by friends and staff.

"So if anyone wants to bring a magnet — as long as it's not offensive — we are welcoming magnets from the community," she said.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken will open at 5 p.m. Saturday. It will open only for dinner at first, but its proprietors hope to begin serving lunch within a few weeks.

"We're feeling good," Cikowski adding, "We're a little tired, but in a good way."

As for predictions of a busy first day with a possible line around the corner, Cikowski said with a laugh, "We anticipate greatness."