PORTAGE PARK — A suburban hen sandwich restaurant is opening a spot on the Northwest Side this thirty day period.
Fry the Coop, which has 4 suburban spots and a place in West City, is taking above the previous Gyro Eats at 4300 N. Milwaukee Ave. It gives Nashville sizzling fried chicken sandwiches, fried chicken and other Southern-impressed goods.
Fontana hopes to provide much more food stuff alternatives and foot targeted visitors to that strip of Milwaukee Avenue, which has observed a resurgence in business enterprise.
“We have experienced our eyes on Portage and Jefferson Parks,” claimed owner Joe Fontana, who life in Villa Park. “I feel like there is a improve happening. … There’s this gleaming light-weight, this enjoyment. They’re not knee-deep in the town, but [they’re] not the suburbs, possibly.”
Fry the Coop’s most well-liked product is the Nashville hot rooster sandwich, which is dipped in beef fats. The fries are cooked in beef unwanted fat.
The body fat provides the hen its signature reddish colour, Fontana mentioned. Then will come the dry rub, a mixture of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, onion and brown sugar.
“Something about that combo is this addicting flavor, the place you go house, lie in bed and you’re contemplating about it continue to,” he beforehand explained. “Depending on how scorching you want chicken, we have diverse dry rubs. Mild, med, warm, mad and ‘little insanity.’ Every single one particular of individuals is a distinct spice mix we arrived up with.”
Fontana introduced the business in 2017 with a place in Oak Lawn and has steadily expanded. He claimed he jumped on the prospect to get above the previous Gyro Eats place.
With its facet patio, takeout window and central site in the community, the small joint is a great healthy for the small business, Fontana claimed. He hopes to be open in a couple of months.
Past year, the chicken organization partnered with Logan Sq.-primarily based Pipeworks Brewing Company, which created a special double IPA brew, Rooster vs. Unicorn.
“It’s a engage in on their most well-known beer, Ninja vs. Unicorn,” Fontana stated.
Fry the Coop began when Fontana and his spouse lived in California. He was doing the job at a software package corporation, hating his job and not earning cash, he mentioned. With a track record operating in Chicago-location bars and restaurants, the Villa Park indigenous tried out to open up a meatball joint in California, but it fell by means of.
Then Fontana discovered out about Nashville sizzling hen. The dish turned an obsession and reminded him of his Italian grandmother’s cooking, he said.
“My grandma utilised to cook dinner these breaded hen cutlets, and we would have fried rooster,” he mentioned. “She would brown the hen, and the complete place would smell like fried chicken. My buddies would always tease me because I would change almost everything into a sandwich … so I started off making chicken sandwiches.”
That enthusiasm turned into a new business strategy: Fry the Coop. He pitched the thought and moved back again to Villa Park to pursue his plans.
Two yrs after beginning the brand, Fontana opened places in Elmhurst, Prospect Heights and West Town. In 2020, a Tinley Park site opened. Fontana was named a noteworthy entrepreneur by Crain’s Chicago Small business in 2019.
And Fontana’s not performed expanding Fry the Coop, he stated. The enterprise is opening a Darien shop in two or three months, and a Glen Ellyn keep is underneath building.
“I however sense like we are a new corporation,” he said. “We sense like a startup. … We are continue to figuring issues out.”
Fontana is also eyeing yet another spot in Lincoln Park, but specifics will not be readily available for quite a few months or a 12 months, he claimed.
Updates to the Portage Park spot will be shared on the restaurant’s social media.
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