Fry the Coop

Earlier this year, I made my way out to Oak Lawn to try a new spot called Fry the Coop. I shared a bit of it on social media after the visit - and there was a big response to the mouthwatering photos, but it really deserves more attention so I wanted to share a little more on the place with all of you.

So. Nashville Hot Chicken. I had never tried it before stepping foot into Fry the Coop. The word "hot" scared me a little because I go for stuff much more on the mild side - although I do love a little heat when there's a good flavor punch packed in. When I got there I found that there are other options than just "hot." The fried chicken sandwiches come in different degrees of spice - mild, medium, hot and crazy. And you can also order "country" style if you want no heat at all.

The heat is added in a unique way with a rub that goes on before frying to match what level you want. I loved getting a first-hand look at the kitchen and how they do things. The whole vibe in the place is about spreading happiness through food - a philosophy I couldn't love more. Owner Joe Fontana fell in love with Nashville Hot Chicken not in Nashville but in California and he couldn't wait to share it with Chicagoland. 

There are a handful of places where you may find Nashville Hot Chicken in the area - on their menu or as a special, but no one does it to this extent. Fry the Coop is all about this fabulous food find. All Nashville Hot Chicken all the time. And I really, really love places that have their niche that they focus on - keep it simple and do it well. And the menu is quite simple. Chicken sandwiches. Tenders. Chicken and Waffles. Fries and a couple other sides. Doughnuts. Pop. Beer. And yeah, that's about it. Everything is made fresh with high-quality ingredients and the chicken goes through a double fry process that just makes it more juicy and tender than you could ever imagine.

Oh, and let's concentrate on that chicken and waffles for a moment. It will really spoil you forever once you have a bite. The waffles have a hint of sweetness and are served with a sweet spiced butter that is out of this world. It's one of those dishes that you will dream about for weeks or months afterward (like I'm doing right now!) My recommendation is not to let your butter all melt onto the waffle, but to also put it on the chicken and let it melt in (a little trick via Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago.) Just when you think that chicken can't get any better, it does with some of that butter melted into that crispy coating.

The space is cute and cozy and the first of what Fontana plans to be several locations in the Chicago area. His goal is for it to become the In-N-Out of Nashville Hot Chicken in the Midwest. 

Oh, and if you really want to overdo it and go all in, get your sandwich served on a glazed doughnut. Sounds crazy, but it works - and if you close your eyes the calories don't count, I promise. ;) 

Fry the Coop
5128 W. 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL