clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Merchandise Mart Now Has One of Chicago’s Most Popular Fried Chicken Spots

The Budlong opened location No. 4

Budlong
The Budlong
The Budlong [Official photo]

The Merchandise Mart continues to upgrade its food offerings as the famous Chicago building today welcomed the Budlong to its second floor. The Budlong slings Nashville hot fried chicken and biscuits, and this is founder Jared Leonard’s fourth location. The crispy, fried chicken is among the best in the city.

They’ll have a new breakfast menu at Merchandise Mart as they’ll open at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays starting next week. Think biscuits sandwiches stuffed with ham and eggs or chicken tenders and eggs. They’ll be placed in a box to give morning commuters getting off the trains at the CTA’s Brown Line Merchandise Mart stop a grab-and-go option. Leonard said this location is the first that has a viable breakfast crowd and they want to take advantage of that.

Leonard also has locations at Revival Food Hall in the Loop, Lincoln Park and Lincoln Square. Along with BBQ Supply Co. (which has locations in West Rogers Park and Hyde Park), the Budlong is part of Leonard’s relatively new restaurant company, Stone Soup Collective. He’s also working on a food hall — Beacon St. Market — in Uptown that should open this summer. Leonard, who has moved to the Denver area to focus on expansion there. He’s already opened one restaurant and plans to open a Budlong food truck in Denver. That city’s food truck laws are less restrictive than in Chicago, where the city council hasn’t done trucks many favors.

Back in Chicago, Leonard appears interested in the space vacated last month by Leghorn Chicken in River North. There’s a chance that Budlong’s spicy chicken could replace Leghorn’s. Nothing’s for certain, but Leonard say they want to serve food all-day and could serve until 3 a.m. if an agreement’s reached. The space’s owners want to bring back the breakfast crowds because dinner is slow at that River North corner.

“We’re working toward reviving that space and creating a killer all-day diner with our hot chicken,” he said.

Meanwhile, River North workers can head to the Merch on their lunch hours for some juicy chicken sandwiches. The Budlong is open.

The Budlong at Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, second floor, starting next week breakfast will be served 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on weekdays. Lunch will be served until 6 p.m. on weekdays.

The Merchandise Mart

222 Merchandise Mart Plz, Chicago, IL 60654 (800) 677-6278 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Chicago newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world