Fried chicken is here to stay.When Anthony Zappola announced he was closing The Rice Shop in University Heights in November, Demetrios Atheneos, former chef and owner of Forage Public House, the Oak Barrel and Bold Food and Drink, swooped in with a December opening of Chicken Ranch.
Picking up on a longstanding foodie trend, Atheneos created an a la carte menu of tenders, thighs and wings (not unlike what makes Soho Chicken & Whiskey soar) but with added bonuses of more than 15 sauces and Southern comfort sides. The vanilla bean sweet potatoes ($4 small, $6 large) are silky smooth and just sweet enough to pair with anything on the menu, and the dense jalapeno corn cakes ($4 small, $6 large), are made better when microwaved for a few seconds.
But the sandwiches, such as the Nashville Hot Chicken ($9), encapsulate everything that makes this place special. Piled high with slaw, pickles, a Mississippi remoulade comeback sauce, chili dust and Nashville hot oil, it evokes an addictive combination of flavors worth repeating.
When You Go: Chicken Ranch
13892 Cedar Road, University Heights, 216-938-7645, theoriginalchickenranch.com