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Posts Tagged ‘fried chicken’

The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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Nearly two years after first flipping on the fryers, Old Standard Fried Chicken will shutter its doors after brunch service on Sunday, July 31. Owner Ben Poremba announced the closure today, July 26.

“It is a business decision,” Poremba said. “It wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do or fitting in with our general strategy.”

Poremba opened the fried chicken restaurant in Botanical Heights across the street from his two flagship restaurants, Elaia and Olio, in October 2014. Sauce reviewed the restaurant in March 2015.

Poremba, who also owns Parigi and co-owns La Patisserie Chouquette, said the space at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., will not sit idle long. He will announce a new concept, as well as any personnel changes or transitions, in the next week or so.

It’s been a busy year for Poremba. He opened his Italian concept, Parigi, in Clayton in February, and in June, he handed the executive chef role at Elaia and Olio to Ben Grupe in order to shift his focus from chef to restaurateur.

 

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

 

 

Readers’ Choice 2016: Favorite New Restaurant – Southern

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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Since it opened in 2015, St. Louisans have flocked to Southern for fried chicken. “People who were in here two days ago can’t believe they’re back,” said chef-owner Rick Lewis. “People literally get hooked.” And hooked you are. Offering more than a tasty bird, Southern took home this year’s Readers’ Choice Favorite New Restaurant award. Here, Lewis dished on his favorite dishes.

1. Bone-In Fried Chicken
“It’s the star of the show. I like it with medium heat. I prefer dark meat, but the bone-in breasts are delicious. The way we handle the chicken, it just stays so moist and flavorful.”

2. Collard Greens
“It’s the quality of the things we use that makes them really good. We steal (neighbor) Pappy’s smoked chicken drippings and pour some in.”

3. Fried Bologna Sandwich
“It’s an in-house favorite. We smoke the bologna over apple wood and cherry and put pimento cheese on it. Some of our guys put it on a biscuit.”

3. Biscuits
“It’s a real buttery biscuit that has a golden brown crunch outside and is light and fluffy inside. We whip butter with good honey and make jams – so simple but so good.”

5. Fried Pickles
“I took them off the menu but had to start doing them again because people kept asking for them. … We use dill seed that gives them a tasty, dilly flavor. I have to say, in the world of fried pickles, they’re up there.”

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

Best New Restaurants: No. 3 – Southern

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Rick Lewis ate a lot of hot chicken for you. The chef-owner of Southern, which opened its doors this June next to Pappy’s Smokehouse in Midtown, racked up the miles on his F-250 cruising to Nashville to research hot chicken royalty like Prince’s and Hattie B’s. Southern features their influence, along with a few barbecue techniques from the pros at Ubons in Mississippi, plus Lewis’ own tricks. Here, the path to Southern’s hot chicken:

Back off, buttermilk. Southern chicken marinates barbecue-style in a tub of beer, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar and cayenne pepper. The barbecue method continues with a dry rub of Lewis’ house-made riff on Old Bay, habanero powder, garlic, salt and sugar, building in layers of heat. 

Dredge, baby, dredge. Chicken is tossed in a mixture of two different starches and flour (This, Lewis insisted, is the key to breading that doesn’t slide off the entire piece after the first bite), plus more seasoning.

Fried and true. Chicken swims in corn oil until cooked through, then is sprinkled with a seasoning salt that Lewis called “magic dust.” Finally, the hot version of the fried bird takes another plunge in a vat of hot corn oil – this one glistening with cayenne and habanero peppers.

Not a one-trick bird. What makes Southern a force to be reckoned with is Lewis’ care for the whole meal. Greens rich with drippings from Pappy’s smoked chicken, flaky biscuits and creamy mac-n-cheese offer respite before you venture back to the merciless goodness of that crispy chicken.

Despite his meticulous research, the chicken’s punishing-yet-addictive heat and perfect crunch, Lewis is still at a loss to explain Southern’s overwhelming popularity. “I have no idea,” he said, grinning. “You want to know what everybody says? They just go, ‘There’s just not any chicken that’s this good around here.’ That’s what they tell me.” We couldn’t put it better ourselves.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

First Look: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Maplewood

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

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Two days after the first St. Louis-area Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened to the public, fried chicken fervor has yet to cool. Lines started forming at 10:30 a.m. today, Dec. 10, and by the time doors were unlocked at 11 a.m., the line had rounded the front of the building at 7434 Manchester Road.

As The Scoop reported in April, Gus’s is a Memphis-based franchise that owners Jim and Jane Zimmerman opened in Maplewood. The menu offers starters and chicken in by-the-piece and plate options, which come with baked beans, slaw and a slice of white bread. Five types of pie are available by the slice or whole. Sweetened and unsweetened tea, fountain soda and domestic and craft beers make up the drink menu.

Gus’s is open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s what to expect when you make it through that door:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: Tommy Andrew to join kitchen at Byrd & Barrel

Friday, September 25th, 2015

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The band is getting back together. Tommy Andrew is slated to man the line as sous chef at just-opened Byrd & Barrel. He will join co-owner and chef Bob Brazell, as well as fellow chefs and cooks Ryan McDonald, Drew Sedlack and Luke Cockson. Andrew and McDonald first met in the kitchen at Monarch, and their paths have since crossed at eateries around town including Juniper and Truffles.

Andrew, a member of this year’s Ones to Watch class, currently serves as head butcher and sous chef at Truffles Butchery under executive chef Steven Caravelli. Andrew and McDonald worked together at Butchery until McDonald left for Byrd & Barrel in June.

Andrew’s first day at the new fast-casual fried chicken shack will be around Oct. 8, and he’s anxious to get back in the kitchen. “I haven’t cooked in a year and I’ve missed it,” he said.

Byrd & Barrel currently uses Andrew’s Inappropriate Apiaries honey in its sweet chili honey sauce, but Brazell recruited his former co-worker for more than his culinary chops. “He’s an amazing chef,” Brazell said. “And his attitude is the best. He’ll do anything for anybody.”

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Sneak Peek: Byrd & Barrel in South City

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

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Smooth your feathers and grab your appetites on Friday, Sept. 25, when Byrd & Barrel  opens its doors at 3422 S. Jefferson Ave., in St. Louis for flocks of fryer fanatics.

As The Scoop reported in November 2014, Bob Brazell announced his plans to open a fast-casual chicken shack in a former Popeye’s in South City, complete with dine-in and drive-thru options.

Unlike traditional deep-fried chicken, Brazell uses a pressure fryer to quickly fry his buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, available by the piece, bucket or as boneless chicken “nuggz.” Sides include mashed red potatoes and fried chicken gravy, kale cole slaw, Provel mac-n-cheese and house-made tater tots. Wash it all down with one of 11 varieties of Vess soda or a sudsy 58-cans list of beer from 4 Hands to Hamm’s.

While fried chicken dominates the menu, Byrd & Barrel does not put all its eggs in one basket. Start with one of six appetizers featuring everything from fried chicken skins to roasted cauliflower. Sandwiches are also up for grabs, including a fried chicken-liver bahn mi or the larger than life Mother Clucker. Byrd & Barrel will offer daily specials, one of which will be vegetarian or vegan friendly.

The fast-casual eatery just south of Cherokee Street seats about 40 inside at banquets and two bar-style areas; another two dozen spots available outside. Starting Monday, Sept. 28, patrons won’t even have get out of the car to get a fix; a pared-down version of the menu will be available at its drive-thru.

Byrd & Barrel will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek and what to expect when the fryers heat up tomorrow.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Southern in Midtown

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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Fried chicken has come home to roost in St. Louis, and chef Rick Lewis is adding to the flock with Southern. As The Scoop reported in March, Lewis left his chef post at Quincy Street Bistro and joined forces with Pappy’s owner Mike Emerson to open a hot chicken spot next door to Emerson’s famed St. Louis barbecue joint. After months of recipe testing, renovations and prep work, Lewis hopes to open doors at 3108 Olive St., in Midtown the week of June 22.

Southern will serve fried chicken in the same vein as Nashville institutions like Hattie B’s and Prince’s. Golden brown pieces of fried chicken fly from the fryer and take a dip in one of three spicy oils (mild, Cluckin’ Hot or General Tso’s) before landing on an aluminum tray. Lewis will offer an assortment of hot chicken plates, serving the fried bird with a slice of white bread to soak up the spicy juices, two sides and house-made pickles. The curious (or chicken-hearted) can also order pieces a la carte.

While Southern’s hot chicken may be the hot topic of the moment, it’s not the only thing Lewis will dish up at this 45-seat, counter-service eatery. Nine hefty sandwiches feature house-made salami, ham, pepperoni, roast beef and even bacon, smoked low and slow in one of Pappy’s four famous smokers next door. Sandwiches are stacked high with cheese, dressings and house pickles between Companion bread. Some sammies, like the Cubano, are griddled to melted goodness on the large flattop.

An array of snacks is available, too, including deviled eggs filled with house pimento cheese, a spread of house-made pickled vegetables, and a butcher board of house-cured meats. Rotating daily dessert specials will include fried hand pies, banana pudding and ice cream sandwiches from Dogtown bakery Sugaree.

When doors open, the lunch-time eatery will fire up the fryers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when Southern opens doors.

 

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Weekend Project: Fried Chicken Dinner

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

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Fried chicken is everywhere in St. Louis right now. It seems like new chicken shacks are announced every other week, and the golden birds are popping up on menus all over town. (I myself am one of the guys who cooks your monthly fried chicken dinners at The Libertine.) Despite its popularity, people often think fried chicken is a huge ordeal to make at home. While I admit it can make a bit of a mess, with a few kitchen tricks, fried chicken can be a simple, relatively mess-free, tasty undertaking at home.​

There are three keys to juicy, golden-brown fried chicken:

1. Wet brine the chicken.
2. Season the dredging flour, or chicken flour.
3. Master basic frying techniques.

 

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First, brining and seasoning. There are two ways to properly season chicken: a dry or wet brine. Dry brining requires salting the chicken liberally – ¼ to ½ cup –  and letting it rest in the refrigerator for several hours. Dry brining is the quickest, simplest way to season the chicken, but wet brining is the best method to introduce other flavors. Here, you can mix in fresh herbs, tea or most important, hot sauce. After an overnight brine, the chicken goes for a dip in a buttermilk and egg bath, which is much easier – and cleaner – than a traditional egg wash. The bath also imparts a tanginess from the buttermilk and yes, even more hot sauce. (Note: This recipe uses three bottles of Louisiana hot sauce, but the end result is a balanced, subtle heat – so don’t panic.)

 

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The chicken flour adds the final layer of flavor. The flour mixture must include cornstarch to help the flour stick to the chicken; I prefer a 1-to-4 ratio of cornstarch to flour. Not all flours are created equal, either. In the South, you’ll often find a mixture of flour and cornmeal, which adds sweetness and crunch. I prefer a more traditional flaky breading, so I use a mixture of all-purpose and corn flour instead.

 

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Finally, frying. You don’t need to a purchase a fryer to clutter up your counter. A Dutch oven and a deep-fry or candy thermometer are all you need for beautifully fried chicken. The Dutch oven is deep enough to prevent oil splatters, and the cast iron helps keep the oil at a constant 300 degrees. Finally, cook like pieces together; breasts and thighs will take 12 to 15 minutes, while the smaller legs and wings will take 11 to 13 minutes. Keep the chicken warm on a rack in a 170-degree oven until you’re ready to serve.

With three teenage boys in our house, I usually cook three to four whole chickens at a time. Even if you’re cooking for a smaller or less voracious crowd, I still encourage you to fry at least two birds, as cold fried chicken is the one of the greatest leftover meals. You decide if you want the traditional Coke and dry white toast to go with it.

 

The Shopping List*

½ cup paprika
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4-5 sprigs thyme
3 12-oz. bottles Louisiana hot sauce
1 5-oz. bottle Tabasco
4 skin-on chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
10 eggs
1 gallon buttermilk
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups corn flour
2 cups cornstarch
Canola oil for frying
1 lb. red new potatoes
2½ lbs. fresh green beans
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup fresh basil
1 lemon

*This list assumes you have water, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, sugar and olive oil on hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase these items, too.

The Gameplan

Day 1: Make the Creole Spice Mix. Brine the chicken.
Day 2: Fry the chicken. Make the Green Bean Salad.

 

 

Creole Spice Mix
Courtesy of The Libertine’s Josh Galliano
Makes 1½ cups

½ cup paprika
6 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. cayenne
½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Day 1: Mix the paprika, salt, garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne, sugar and chili flakes together in a non-reactive bowl. Store in airtight container.

 

 

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Fried Chicken
8 to 10 servings

1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
4 to 5 sprigs thyme
3 12-oz. bottles Louisiana hot sauce, divided
1 5-oz. bottle Tabasco
4 skin-on chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
10 eggs
1 gallon buttermilk
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups corn flour
2 cups cornstarch
1 cup Creole Spice Mix (Recipe above.)
Canola oil for frying

Day 1: In a container large enough to hold all the chicken pieces, whisk together the water, sugar and salt until dissolved. Add the thyme, 2 bottles Louisiana hot sauce and Tabasco and whisk again. Submerge the chicken pieces in the brine, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
Day 2: In another container large enough to hold all the chicken pieces, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and remaining bottle of Louisiana hot sauce until incorporated. Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and submerge them in the buttermilk bath.
● In the bottom of a shallow 9-by-13-inch baking dish, stir together the all-purpose flour, corn flour, cornstarch and Creole Spice Mix until well incorporated.
● Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Fill a Dutch oven with 3 inches of canola oil, place a frying thermometer or candy thermometer in the oil and set over high heat until it reaches 300 degrees.
● Meanwhile, place 2 racks on top of 2 sheet trays. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk bath 1 piece at a time and dredge in the flour mixture. Place the chicken on the rack and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Dredge each piece in the flour again and return them to the rack.
● Carefully add the breasts to the oil, working in batches as necessary to not overcrowd the Dutch oven. Fry 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and fry another 3 to 5 minutes. Turn again and fry another 3 to 5 minutes, until the skin is a crisp, golden brown. Remove the breasts from the oil and place on the second rack. Repeat with the chicken thighs, adjusting the temperature as needed to keep the oil at 300 degrees. Place the tray in the oven between batches to keep warm.
● Add the legs to the oil, working in batches as necessary to not overcrowd the Dutch oven. Fry 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and fry another 3 to 5 minutes. Turn again and let fry another 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin is a crisp, golden brown. Remove the legs from the oil and place on the second rack. Repeat with the chicken wings, adjusting the temperature as needed to keep the oil at 300 degrees.
● Place the tray with the fried chicken in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Fried chicken will keep, refrigerated, 1 week.

 

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Green Bean Salad
6 to 8 servings

Kosher salt for boiling, plus more to taste
1 lb. new red potatoes
2½ lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ to ½ cup olive oil

Day 2: Prepare an ice water bath and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and boil until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon, place on a plate and refrigerate to cool.
● In the same pot, blanch the green beans 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and shock in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the green beans and place in a serving bowl.
● Slice the potatoes into large bite-sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the pine nuts, basil and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper, toss with the olive oil and serve. Salad will keep, refrigerated, 1 week.

Can’t get enough fried chicken? Check out other recipes from area chefs like Old Standard’s Ben Poremba or The Libertine’s Josh Galliano.

 -photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: First area Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken to open in Maplewood

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

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More fried chicken is flying to Missouri this summer. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is set to open a franchise at 7434 Manchester Road in Maplewood. St. Louis will be one of nine places where the Tennessee-based restaurant plans to open this year.

Franchise owners Jim and Jane Zimmermann said Gus’s will offer dine-in, carryout and catering options at the 68-seat restaurant. Menu items incude fried chicken meals, fried green tomatoes, baked beans, greens, mac-n-cheese, fried pickles and various pies. Both draft and local beers will be offered as well.

“(Gus’s owner) Wendy McRory is very involved in choosing locations. We’ve been working on bringing Gus’s to St. Louis for quite some time, and Maplewood fit a lot of the criteria we’ve been looking for. It’s a thriving area,” Jane Zimmermann said. “We’re very, very excited to bring the brand to St. Louis.”

 

 

The Scoop: Miss Leon’s Soul Food Restaurant, Bombers Hideaway open in The Grove

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

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Serving soul food with a side of entertainment, Miss Leon’s Soul Food Restaurant and Bombers Hideaway bar and event venue opened Jan. 5 at 3960 Chouteau Ave., formerly the home of Bad Dog Bar & Grill.

Leon Augustus Braxton Jr. is the chef at the eponymous soul-food establishment, which is tucked into the Bombers Hideaway building but has a separate kitchen and dining area. Braxton formerly cooked at CJ’s On the Hill and Rehab Bar & Grill, both owned by Chad Fox and Jim Weckmann, who also own Bombers Hideaway.

“I’ve been frying chicken my whole life,” Braxton said. “I’ve grown up on comfort food: food your grandma fixed you when you were sick, food your family had after church on Sunday morning. I focus on the food I grew up on.”

Miss Leon’s is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Children are welcome until 7 p.m., and for $10 on Sundays, diners are treated to all-you-can-eat fried chicken.

The big hit so far has been chicken gizzards, Braxton said, and other menu items include catfish, chicken-fried steak, macaroni and cheese and greens.

The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but there’s plenty available at the Bombers Hideaway bar. “I don’t want to have to deal with my own liquor license,” Braxton said. “I like the give and take that a restaurant and a bar have for each other.”

Entertainment at Bombers Hideaway ranges from line-dancing lessons to dart competitions to cabaret shows, which take place in the large adjoining event space, a converted warehouse with stage lighting and a performance platform.

-photo courtesy of Timrek Photography 

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