It didn't take long to cement new plans for the space vacated by Bunny The Micro Bakery. The Budlong will bring Nashville hot chicken to Broadway very soon, as owner Jared Leonard said he hopes to open the restaurant on May 10. The news doesn't affect the opening of their long-awaited Lincoln Square location, which continues to be under construction — there's no update there.
"Phil Tadros and I have been talking for awhile about working together —specifically on The Budlong," Leonard wrote via email. "When Bunny closed, Phil called me and asked if I would do Budlong on Broadway and I jumped on it. The space and neighborhood are perfect for this concept."
Jonathan Zaragoza, formerly of Pearl's Southern Comfort and Masa Azul, will serve as chef de cuisine at the new location. He's leaving his family namesake restaurant Birrieria Zaragoza in Archer Heights after it won a Jean Banchet Award in January.
Leonard and his team continue to test recipes over at their other restaurant, Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse in Rogers Park. Leonard said they'll be serving biscuits, glazed Spudnuts (doughnuts made from potato flour) and a few sides. Because of the space's small size, they'll focus on chicken and won't offer as large of a menu as they eventually will in Lincoln Square. That means no pastrami sandwiches or burgers on Broadway.
"It will be really busy inside the space, which will give it a great energy," Leonard said.
Tadros had partnered with Iliana Regan on Bunny, and will do so again with Leonard on Budlong. The announcement sets up quite a fried chicken showdown between the current king of the block, Crisp, which is about 130 feet away next door. But Leonard isn't worried about it because Nashville and Seoul flavors are so different.
"The neighborhood will love us both," he said.