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I generally don't aim for showing up to a place just days after it opens but it was 4:40 and I had 20 minutes to kill before a meeting in the neighborhood, so seeing that the place was empty, I stopped in for a quick schnack.

Choices are pretty simple: select a treatment for your chicken (Nashville Hot or Pickle Brined), a piece-type (boneless breast or thigh) and a bread (housemade bun or buttermilk biscuit) for your sandwich. A variety of toppings are offered (romaine, Living Water Farms tomato), including a bunch of different sauces; some housemade (Rancho verde, housemade catsup, etc.), some off the shelf (e.g. Kewpie mayo). The first sauce is free, after that, they're $0.25 each.

Clearly, there's a political agenda here that references Chick Fil A. The carry-out menu boasts "WE ARE OPEN ALL DAY ON SUNDAY." (their caps, not mine). Also mentioned is the fact that 2% of all profit is donated to organizations that support gay rights. Free, branded birth control is offered too (would you like a condom with that sandwich?) The menu also informs that corporate bullshit is abhorred.

There's some food philosophy declared, too. According to the menu, Leghorn soley supports Local and Sustainable farmers. And happily, that really shows up on the plate (or in the brown paper sack, as was the case for my carry-out order). I was informed that only the Nashville Hot / thigh was available, so that's what I ordered. On a biscuit, with house pickle slices. I tried the Rancho Verde and the Spicy Mayo, both of which were served on the side. I really liked what I ate. The chicken was ultra-cripsy on the outside, nicely spiced and very flavorful overall. I thought the flakey biscuit, which could be properly pulled apart in layers, was also very tasty, and was a nice vehicle for the thigh. Sauces were both tasty. Pickles were a nice touch. I also ordered the Tuesday special, Chicken Fried Fries, which were really tasty, and beautifully and lightly crispy. I wasn't a huge fan of the housemade catsup but it wasn't awful, as so many housemade catsups can be. What can I say? I'm a Heinz guy.

According to the menu I have, there are also daily specials offered on Mondays (fried chicken skins) and Wednesdays (fried chicken nuggets). In addition to that, a Grilled Chicken Bowl (quinoa, kale, carrots, cucumbers, blue cheese) appears on the regular menu, as do Fried Chicken Tenders. A few sides are also offered, including whole versions of the pickles that come on the sandwiches, hand-cut Nori fries, shaved vegetable slaw and Green Chile Hush Puppies, to name a few. Menu here.

Leghorn is located almost directly across the street from Sportman's Club, which makes for a potentially fantastic 1-2 punch. However, I'm told that they generally sell out of all their food at Leghorn by late afternoon, which would negate any such synergy. I just assumed that the running out was a function of their having been open for only a few days but some folks who claim to be in the know tell me that that's the model. The goal is to run out by that hour, if not earlier. I really hope that's incorrect. I guess only time will tell.

It's kind of funny to me that Leghorn takes its shots at Chick Fil A since their food is infinitely superior to Chick Fil A's. Why even bother drawing any comparisons? But if that's the fuel on which this place runs, so be bit. It seems to have hatched something pretty darned promising.

=R=

Leghorn Chicken (website)
959 N Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 394-4444

Sportsman's Club (website)
948 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(872) 206-8054
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"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

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My only request is that you read my thoughts aloud in your best Foghorn Leghorn voice. Please add in "I say" and "boy" frequently.

Boy, I made it, I say I made it to Leghorn today for a late lunch (around 2pm, Saturday) and this turned out to be a pretty good time to go as there was seating open and only a couple of people in line ahead of us. You order at the counter and they bring your food to you, and then you bus your own tables. There's a bucket of water where you can help yourself.

I had the chicken thigh sandwich, pickled brined, on a bun. For sides, I ordered a biscuit and hushpuppies. The hushpuppies were my favorite item. Piping hot, crisp coating, moist and fluffy green chili-speckled interior, and absolutely delicious. The day it opened, I read a review from Zagat complaining about dry, bland hushpuppies. The moral of this story is that Leghorn is new, there will be inconsistencies, but the hushpuppies I tasted today were about as perfect as you would want them. Check 'em out:

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Leghorn's green chili hushpuppies


Leghorn's biscuits are pretty close to being outstanding. They're big, they're beautiful, they're flaky with a crisp exterior and they're plenty moist. My lone complaint is that they're just too sweet for my liking. Not dramatically sweet, but after several bites the sweetness starts to take over just a bit much. Take out a little of that sugar, and I'll be willing to consider these in the top echelon of Chicago biscuitry. But hey, look at these beauts:

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Leghorn's biscuits



Surprisingly, the chicken was my least favorite item. But again, these guys have been open for a handful of days, they're probably at capacity, who knows how long they're brining the chicken and what kind of adjustments they're making, etc . . . So I'll cut them some slack and return to try it again. But my thigh just didn't pack the flavor I expected from the brine, I thought the crust could have also packed some more seasoning, and it could have been a little more moist. It wasn't bad at all - perhaps I just built up expectations so high. My dining companion was much more pleased with his breast. So perhaps some small inconsistencies that can be attributed to Leghorn being so new.

But I know I'll be back to try the chicken again - it looked beautiful. And they've got the bun down right out of the gate. It's a dryer, denser brioche-type bun and a pretty fantastic one at that. In fact, I'd say about the perfect bun for any burger or chicken sandwich. There are some thinly sliced pickles too, and then the fried chicken, thigh in my case. They serve the chicken with your choice of sauces, and I chose rancho verde. But I didn't add any until I had first tried the sandwich on its own. I wish I could have taken the fried chicken breast from Analogue and put it on this bun. Unfortunately, no pictures of the chicken sandwich. I had already taken a couple bites and knew I couldn't get a good pic - sorry.
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Chicken was really good here, I had the same order as Ronnie yesterday - Nashville Hot thigh on a biscuit.

This place really tries hard to be cool rather than just making great food. They use this new "hard-to-get" supply/demand manipulation tactic you're seeing with a lot of new small spots from larger restaurant groups. Only thing that annoys me about this is that they shouldn't be "running out" of something that doesn't take long to make. Running out of BBQ makes sense (many are trying to replicate what Aaron Franklin has), it takes 14-16 hours to make a good brisket or pork shoulder, if you're cooking fresh - when it's gone, it's gone.

I know they brine - but unless they have some technique I'm unaware of, it should be plenty easy to keep a full supply of what's needed to make more chicken - fresh everyday. Suggestions to suggest otherwise are welcome, maybe I'm missing something here, it just seems so intentional that they are "selling out" to create hype.

They've also decided that blaring hip hop, (vulgar/offensive hip hop at that), is somehow cool or ironic or "sceney" or whatever...but frankly listening to "F" this "N" you M'er F'in' gansta during lunch at noon is not any of those things, it's just stupid. just plain stupid. change the music, no one likes it - not even a little bit.

again, I LOVED my food. I love the idea of the fried chicken sandwich dive. I don't think they should intentionally run out of food, or play vulgar offensive rap music. I could care less that they are cash only, which is another critque from many - but I am indifferent to that, I usually carry cash.

One last note: to drink, I ordered a "Lemon Shaker". It's basically a half of a lemon in a glass of ice - with water and simple syrup to fill it up. It's about 4-6oz of actual drink, as the half lemon and ice take up so much of the small glass it's served in. Flavor was fine, and the half lemon is a thoughtful presentation to make a fresh lemonade - but you need a bigger glass and the lemon should be on the bottom so you can actually use the straw they give you (it's round-up on the top of the drink, which blocks the straw)...

Leghorn - I love your chicken sandwiches...without a drink...to go :)
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Isn't Western and Augusta technically in Ukrainian Village?

Anyway, looking forward to trying Leghorn, but I'll wait 'til the hype dies down a bit.
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La Cuenta wrote:Isn't Western and Augusta technically in Ukrainian Village?

I suppose it depends if you're looking at a map or asking a realtor. :lol:

In all seriousness, I think it depends on who you ask. I've seen that location referred to as being in both of those neighborhoods.

=R=
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"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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rubbbqco wrote:...but frankly listening to "F" this "N" you M'er F'in' gansta during lunch at noon is not any of those things, it's just stupid. just plain stupid. change the music, no one likes it - not even a little bit.

Of course....this isn't true, or else the genre would not exist.
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Of course....this isn't true, or else the genre would not exist.


I stand corrected - I should have said, "I've talked to a number of folks that have dined there, and ALL of them have noted that the music was offensive and inappropriate - and just plain odd for the setting."
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Love what I'm Doing, Doing what I love - Cooking hardwood smoked BBQ 6 days/week :)
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We had a very pleasant outing to Leghorn last weekend. Everything was first rate, including the shaved vegetable slaw and pickles as well as the sandwich. They may have been trying to be cool, but that didn't stop them from providing gracious service and being friendly to our little daughter. The music on the other hand... just might cause issues when she is old enough to get the lyrics.
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rubbbqco wrote:
They've also decided that blaring hip hop, (vulgar/offensive hip hop at that), is somehow cool or ironic or "sceney" or whatever...but frankly listening to "F" this "N" you M'er F'in' gansta during lunch at noon is not any of those things, it's just stupid. just plain stupid. change the music, no one likes it - not even a little bit.


The loud hiphop is one of the selling points for me. Not to hash out a boring argument on personal taste (I've got my dad to bicker about the merits of rap with), but I think the jams are in line with the vibe they are setting forth. In the kitchens I've worked in loud, aggressive music is a necessity to push through the shift. And my kitchen happens to be pretty exposed to the public and while we get the occasional comment, my clientele understands the rambunctious energy of what we do. So I guess Leghorn reminds me of home. And it reflects the streets, the place is a block south of Clemente High. Hey, they even offer a "Parental Advisory" warning on their open sign.

I like the politics too. In a world where food businesses openly flaunt their bigotry, why not counter with a independently owned spot that makes its own argument.

I am probably outing my demographic here (rap-loving, liberal), but I really dig the whole package of this place.

I like the food too, esp. the pickles and the house-baked rolls.
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And it reflects the streets, the place is a block south of Clemente High. Hey, they even offer a "Parental Advisory" warning on their open sign.
...this place is hardly "the streets", it's owned by a pretty well known restaurant group - reminds me of the suburban kids driving their soccer mom's SUV blasting music about "thug life". But hey, we're still talking about it - so mission accomplished!

...back to the food (music preference/appropriate volume could be its own thread) - I'm still wondering why they "sell out" so early? Am I missing something here? If they're doing it cause they just don't want to stay open later, hey - it's their business, they pay the rent 24 hours a day, if they wanna open only for a few hours...totally up to them.

Does anyone have an explanation other than their personal desire to only be open a short time?
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Love what I'm Doing, Doing what I love - Cooking hardwood smoked BBQ 6 days/week :)
http://www.backcountryq.com
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rubbbqco wrote:I'm still wondering why they "sell out" so early? Am I missing something here? If they're doing it cause they just don't want to stay open later, hey - it's their business, they pay the rent 24 hours a day, if they wanna open only for a few hours...totally up to them.

That only happened the first couple of days they were in business. Their subsequent tweets indicate that they have remained open through dinner, other than possibly running out sometime around 6pm yesterday (Sunday).
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I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

Twitter: brbinchicago
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I went yesterday (Sunday) at around 1:30 and the line was nearly out the door. They were out of tenders, but those aren't exactly my cup of meat, so it didn't matter to me. I had a Nashville Hot thigh ordered on a bun, but mistakenly delivered on a biscuit. The biscuit was definitely the wrong vehicle for my sandwich. It couldn't stand up to the chicken without disintegrating into little flaky biscuit bits, but the chicken itself and the pickles were both very good. I also enjoyed the hush puppies.

I know I'll be back often when in the area.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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So it's safe to say I wont see Bill O'Reilly inside? Fine by me. C. Delores Tucker must be rolling over in her grave. If your kids can understand it, they probably have an understanding of how the internet works, there's much bigger shock out there than rap lyrics. I cant remember if it was inside Prince's Chicken (Nashville) or on the speakers outside, but I distinctly remember some Cash Money Records being played loudly during the middle of the afternoon. Sorry, I just thought the days of being offended by rap music were over...outside of the Fox News Circle anyway. Oh yeah, I haven't had their food, but as far as the running out goes, as they explained to me on twitter, there's only so much sustainable chicken. I don't know what that means but they hyped the place for a year straight so I'm not surprised to see them flourishing and selling out early as they come out of the gates. Remember Chick-fil-a downtown had lines for a few weeks upon it's opening.
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rubbbqco wrote:...back to the food (music preference/appropriate volume could be its own thread)


Yes. Please start a new thread if you would like to continue a discussion of music in restaurants. But let's keep this thread focused on Leghorn.

Darren72
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That only happened the first couple of days they were in business. Their subsequent tweets indicate that they have remained open through dinner, other than possibly running out sometime around 6pm yesterday (Sunday).
I've read that it's their business model to sell out before dinner.
as far as the running out goes, as they explained to me on twitter, there's only so much sustainable chicken. I don't know what that means

Neither do I...and I'm not questioning them, obviously they can make their own decisions and are good at it - I'm just trying to learn what they are (deliciously) doing to their chickens that would require a day-in-advance prep....
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rubbbqco wrote:I'm just trying to learn what they are (deliciously) doing to their chickens that would require a day-in-advance prep....


De boning & brining.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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De boning & brining.
I'd be surprised if that took a day...those small cuts don't really need a full day brine, it would make them too salty.
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Love what I'm Doing, Doing what I love - Cooking hardwood smoked BBQ 6 days/week :)
http://www.backcountryq.com
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ronnie_suburban wrote:
La Cuenta wrote:Isn't Western and Augusta technically in Ukrainian Village?

I suppose it depends if you're looking at a map or asking a realtor. :lol:

In all seriousness, I think it depends on who you ask. I've seen that location referred to as being in both of those neighborhoods.

=R=


I had a short-lived record store at 1017 N. Western and an apartment at Oakley and Thomas, and always referred to that area as Ukrainian Village. I guess west of Western is a different story.
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stevez wrote:boning & brining.

That sounds like one of the jams on the sountrack. :(
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cilantro wrote:
stevez wrote:boning & brining.

That sounds like one of the jams on the sountrack. :(

:lol: :lol: hahaha...yes, i think i heard that while i was there
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Love what I'm Doing, Doing what I love - Cooking hardwood smoked BBQ 6 days/week :)
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rubbbqco wrote:Neither do I...and I'm not questioning them, obviously they can make their own decisions and are good at it - I'm just trying to learn what they are (deliciously) doing to their chickens that would require a day-in-advance prep....


I don't think it has anything to do with what they are doing to the chicken. It's how many sustainably raised chickens they can procure. It's not like they can call up Sysco when they're running low.
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This is probably fairly routine but on March 10, 2014 they passed an inspection with conditions:

http://chicago.everyblock.com/food-insp ... rce=digest

FYI, Filo is the business that formerly occupied that space, which is why it's erroneously referred to in the report.

=R=
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"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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jfibro wrote:
rubbbqco wrote:Neither do I...and I'm not questioning them, obviously they can make their own decisions and are good at it - I'm just trying to learn what they are (deliciously) doing to their chickens that would require a day-in-advance prep....


I don't think it has anything to do with what they are doing to the chicken. It's how many sustainably raised chickens they can procure. It's not like they can call up Sysco when they're running low.


I'm writing an article now for Chicagoist about this. The chef told me that their bottleneck is in breaking down whole chickens, which is something they wanted to do for various reasons. It's therefore a labor bottleneck. The chickens are from Miller's poultry, which is an Amish company that supplies Whole Foods and a bunch of other places like HBFC. The chickens are free roaming, but raised in indoor barns year-round. Miller has their own hatchery and processing facility. I don't think there are any bottlenecks there.
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From the Timeout review:

"On its first day of business, March 6, Leghorn completely sold out its stockpile of 600 sandwiches in about 90 minutes. 'We called in the troops, friends and employees from our other locations, to see if they could help us butcher chickens,' Van Camp said. After that, he said, the team more than doubled the number of chickens it's breaking down, but they're still running out."
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I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

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mgmcewen wrote:...the chef told me that their bottleneck is in breaking down whole chickens, which is something they wanted to do for various reasons.

I'm curious: If they're serving breasts and thighs, what are they doing with the rest of the bird? Their menu doesn't list anything they'd be using stock from, and a once-a-week "nuggets" special wouldn't seem like a good way to use up legs, wings and backs. Where's the soup, pot pie, gumbo, burgoo, brunswick stew...?
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I'll wager that those parts are making their way into the nuggets and tenders as well as the menus of their other restaurants.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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JoelF wrote:
mgmcewen wrote:...the chef told me that their bottleneck is in breaking down whole chickens, which is something they wanted to do for various reasons.

I'm curious: If they're serving breasts and thighs, what are they doing with the rest of the bird? Their menu doesn't list anything they'd be using stock from, and a once-a-week "nuggets" special wouldn't seem like a good way to use up legs, wings and backs. Where's the soup, pot pie, gumbo, burgoo, brunswick stew...?


He said they are deboned and made into the nuggets. The bones go into stock that's distributed across the restaurant group. I have seen the Miller chickens at Whole Foods and they don't have very big legs/thighs/etc. It's not the most active type of bird. I might buy a whole miller chicken from WF and break it down just out of curiosity.
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I coincidentally cooked a Miller chicken on my rotisserie last night. I bought it at my local Tony's Finer Foods (Elston location). It was a very tasty bird, but you're right. It wasn't a huge bird. Mine was a fryer weighing in at a little over 3.25 lbs. There were larger (over 5 lbs.) roasters in the case as well, though.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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Seems like Honeybutter Fried Chicken uses Miller and breaks down whole chickens too. They used to sell out early. I wonder if it's a matter of a drop in demand or increase in efficiency.
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Short video piece explains what they do with the rest of the chicken. For example on Mondays they sell Fried Chicken Skins
http://wgntv.com/2014/03/19/fried-chicken-with-a-cause/
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