LAKEVIEW — After a chilly weekend, things are heating up in Lakeview.
Barbecue master Jared Leonard, who owns Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse in Rogers Park, is opening his Budlong "Nashville hot" chicken joint Tuesday at 2928 N. Broadway.
Nashville hot chicken is served with pickles on a slice of bread. [Budlong Chicken]
Nashville hot — fried chicken with an added layer of blistering spice blend — is a southern specialty that's fast gaining popularity north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Budlong's menu will feature four levels of heat, from "naked" — seasoned but not spicy — to x-hot "it's really freakin' hot (we warned you)."
Though the eatery is a fast-casual spot, hot chicken is cooked to order, so customers should expect a 15-minute wait, Leonard said.
Sides include biscuits, collard greens and black-eyed peas. Leonard is also resurrecting a piece of American culinary history, the Spudnut, a near-extinct doughnut made with potato flour.
The tiny storefront, which measures less than 10 feet wide, will have seating for 16. Look for an outdoor patio when the weather cooperates and Leonard plans to add delivery down the road.
A sizeable basement prep kitchen will allow the Budlong to pull off the "cool trick" of making a lot of food in a small space, Leonard said.
Budlong is less than 10 feet wide, but the nearly 30-foot ceilings make the space feel bigger, owner Jared Leonard said. [Budlong Chicken]
In late April, Leonard announced he had entered a partnership with Phil Tadros to take over the storefront formerly occupied by Bunny, the micro bakery.
The Lakeview Budlong is actually the second planned by Leonard, but the first to open. The original Budlong has been under construction at 4169 N. Western Ave. for more than a year, with Leonard waiting on the building's owner to complete renovations before adding his finishing touches.
Once structural work is completed, "I just need two to three weeks to get it done," said Leonard, who had no new timeline to offer for Lincoln Square.
Leonard and Tadros, who have mutual friends, had been talking about growing the Budlong brand for months when the Lakeview location became available after Bunny shuttered. (Tadros was a partner in Bunny with chef Iliana Regan.)
"It was always in the plans to do a couple of these," Leonard said.
Unlike barbecue, which is a more complex prospect and requires a fair amount of instinct, chicken is "scalable," he said.
"My barbecue business is like a passion project — it's not a good business to duplicate," said Leonard. "With chicken, once you have a system down, I can teach anybody to do it."
He brought in chef Jonathan Zaragoza to oversee Budlong's kitchen, handed over his recipes and Zaragoza "fine tuned them and made them better," Leonard said.
Hours for Budlong Chicken will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, closed Mondays.
Budlong takes over the storefront formerly occupied by Bunny, the micro bakery. [Budlong Chicken]
Open wide and say, "Ouch." Barbecue master Jared Leonard, who owns Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse in Rogers Park, is opening his Budlong "Nashville hot" chicken joint Tuesday at 2928 N. Broadway. [Budlong Chicken]
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