Fried chicken fans had some surprising news on Monday when suburban darling Fry the Coop opened its first Chicago restaurant. The Nashville hot chicken chain has opened a location inside the Wells St Market food hall, just south of the river in the Loop. The chain also has locations in suburban Oak Lawn and Elmhurst.
The food hall location’s menu includes a Nashville fried chicken sandwich, doughnut fried chicken sandwich, plus seasoned fries and cole slaw. It took over the Chow Brothers stall. Chow Brothers made creative pierogis and burgers and closed on Friday.
For Fry the Coop, the opportunity at Wells St Market changed their plans. Back in February, owner Joe Fontana announced plans to come to Chicago and open in the West Town space vacated by Mexique, chef Carlos Gaytan’s former Michelin-starred restaurant. While West Town won’t be Fry the Coop’s Chicago debut, a spokesperson said the new location could open in late summer. Fontana wanted to open in May, but there have been zoning issues that have delayed plans.
The chain debuted in 2017, inspired by the success of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville. While West Town waits, Chicagoans not wanting to visit the suburbs could make a trip to Wells St Market to try some Nashville hot chicken. Wells St Market opened last year with a 11-vendor lineup that includes Piggy Smalls (the gyros restaurant from Purple Pig chef Jimmy Bannos Jr.), Tempesta Market, and FARE.
Now it adds fried chicken to the mix. Fry the Coop’s first Chicago location is open.
Fry the Coop inside Wells St Market, 205 W. Wacker Drive, (312) 614-4176 open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.