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Restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn is giving The Chickery’s menu a top-to-bottom menu makeover in his new role as the chef of the Dupont Circle restaurant. Quick eats are old hat for Mendelsohn with his trio of restaurants on Capitol Hill: We, The Pizza, Good Stuff Eatery, and Santa Rosa Taqueria.
The Chickery opened in December 2015 with a basic menu of chicken fingers, four simple sandwiches featuring rotisserie or rotisserie fried chicken, salads, and sides. It wasn’t quite a hit. Mendelsohn is hoping to change that with more adventurous sandwiches, a late night menu with tempting drunk food, more creative sides, and a dip bar with seven sauces that make chicken fingers more fun.
“I grew up on rotisserie chicken all the time in Montreal,” Mendelsohn says. “It’s nothing that’s real foreign to me.” He says his goal is to take the chicken sandwich restaurant and treat it like a burger joint. Instead of offering an array of burgers with different toppings, he’s rolling out eight new chicken sandwiches.
Mendelsohn projects the Open Sesame will be one of the biggest sellers. It’s a variation of a Japanese-style “katsu sando” featuring a pounded out chicken cutlet coated in panko breadcrumbs and lightly fried topped with slaw, mayo, and an Asian BBQ sauce on white Pullman bread ($9.95).
Check out the menu below and you’ll notice that all of the sandwiches cost less than $10 and start with a hashtag. “Everybody is doing social media and there’s always hashtags,” Mendelsohn says. “I was like, ‘Why don’t we just hashtag the menu?’ If they take a picture, they’ll already have the hashtag. Each sandwich can take on its own viral personality.”
Mendelsohn is making another big change. He’s extending operating hours until 3:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, pandering to the late night club crowd. “I’m familiar with the area because I own a speakeasy down the street,” he says, referring to The Sheppard. “There are lots of people there late night with very few options … I want to be a part of that.”
A chicken cone is the star of the late night menu. The treat you can walk away with consists of a waffle cone stuffed with fried chicken, a couple of French fries, and a choice of sauce from the dip bar such as Thai sweet and sour or buttermilk Ranch ($8.50). “Chicken cones are trending these days,” he adds. True, Service Bar DC’s opening menu included one.
With Mendelsohn signed on in a long-term capacity, The Chickery hopes to quickly expand nationally and internationally. “I know there’s one in the works on the West Coast and in Dubai,” he says. “We kind of want to pump these out and have some fun with it.”
Come Oct. 2 the hours will be Sundays-Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. The late night menu kicks in at 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays-Saturdays.
The Chickery, 1300 Connecticut Ave. NW; (202) 223-2222; thechickery.com