Dining Chicago

Leghorn Chicken, Chicago's Latest Chicken Joint Takes Flight

The tireless juggernaut known as Element Collective has proven its mettle as one of Chicago's preeminent restaurant groups, with a serious proclivity for opening solid, unique concepts that adhere to core philosophies of locality, sustainability, and as of late, safe sex. Because we would expect nothing less from a reputable fried chicken joint. Leghorn Chicken is the latest rung in a seemingly ceiling-less ladder for Element Collective, whose chicken concept has been feverishly anticipated for what feels like forever. The wait is finally over, as Leghorn takes flight March 6 in Ukrainian Village, serving up fine poultry with a side of gay rights. Winner winner chicken dinner indeed. Here's what you need to know:


Leghorn
(Leghorn)

 

The tireless juggernaut known as Element Collective has proven its mettle as one of Chicago's preeminent restaurant groups, with a serious proclivity for opening solid, unique concepts that adhere to core philosophies of locality, sustainability, and as of late, safe sex. Because we would expect nothing less from a reputable fried chicken joint. Leghorn Chicken is the latest rung in a seemingly ceiling-less ladder for Element Collective, whose chicken concept has been feverishly anticipated for what feels like forever. The wait is finally over, as Leghorn takes flight March 6 in Ukrainian Village, serving up fine poultry with a side of gay rights. Winner winner chicken dinner indeed. Here's what you need to know:

 


The Food

Leghorn Chicken is far from your average chicken shack, no matter what your template for said shack may be. In the hands of Element Collective, the chicken shack model is used as a way to serve wholesome, socially conscious quick service cuisine, supporting local farmers and artisan purveyors. The food program is curated by chefs Jared Van Camp and Sieger Bayer, the former of whom you know from your years not living under a rock and the latter of whom has clocked time cooking at other Element Collective spots Old Town Social and Nellcote, along with restaurants throughout the country and Europe. He also used to be in a Bon Jovi cover band, which works out well because as we all know, Bon Jovi imitators make the best chicken. The small, fast-casual operation specializes in chicken sandwiches, a divergence from the crop of chicken joints opening around town as of late, sourcing poultry locally and butchering in-house. The birds are available pickle-brined or Nashville hot, breast or thigh, on a bun or biscuit. Daily specials include fried chicken skins, chicken fried fries, and fried chicken nuggets that will surely change your viewpoint of nuggets forever. To drink, Leghorn is BYOB but they're also doling out fresh lemon shake-ups, which bodes well.


The Politics

Rarely is chicken ever so profound. At Leghorn, it's more than just chicken, it's a movement. Not only for socially conscious sourcing, but for socially conscious business acumen in general. While certain chicken conglomerates tread in deep-fried bigotry, using religion as a means of discrimination against gay people, Leghorn is the antithesis. They do not close on Sundays for religious reasons, they support and champion gay rights, they donate 2% of revenue to gay rights organizations, and they are "emphatically un-interested in your organized religion, secular religion, agnosticism, atheism, or non-atheism," so there's none of that bullshit. Also, they offer free Leghorn branded birth control at the counter because of course.


This is a chicken joint you can feel good about.


- Matt Kirouac

 


The team behind Element Collective (Kinmont, Old Town Social, Nellcote, RM Champagne Salon, Owen & Alchemy) debuts its first fast-casual concept with the arrival of a chicken-focused BYOB spot in...

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