Chicken Run Review: Dine With PressureLife
The COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants to adapt how they operate. For Soho Chicken + Whiskey in Ohio City, that meant it was time to go in a new direction: to-go orders.
After nearly nine years as a full-service dine-in restaurant, owners Nolan Konkoski and Molly Smith decided to reopen the Soho space as Chicken Run, a fast-casual takeout concept slinging fried chicken, sandwiches, and other favorites. This process required the Soho team to design an entirely new menu based around to-go orders. The PressureLife team made the trip to West 25th Street to take Chicken Run for a spin.
Fried chicken is probably my favorite group in the food pyramid. I got two drumsticks for $3 a piece and boy they did not disappoint. Even with the whole to-go model, the fried chicken carried very well and stayed crispy. I understand why they call it Chicken Run and I’d 100 percent go back just for more drums.
Another key to my heart is collard greens and again they were delicious. My only critique for them would be to add a little more broth. It’s also pretty ballsy to add deviled eggs as a main menu item. All I have to say is I want them around me at all times.
The mac and cheese was smoky, creamy goodness that would make anyone with a soul happy. The seafood gumbo was fine, but the chicken is appropriately the star at Chicken Run. In terms of items I didn’t like, I’d suggest skipping the potato salad and the weird, cinnamony barbecue chicken sauce that was way too sweet. Aside from that, I’m sure you’ll be happy. I know I will be back. 4/5
With a dine-in menu full of every comfort food imaginable, I’ve always enjoyed a brunch at Soho. Because of that, I already had really high expectations of their takeout chicken concept. We grossly over ordered our chicken and sides on the (slightly-rickety) online ordering system, picked up at their awesomely efficient walk-up window, and then posted up at a local watering hole to dig in. The amount of people drooling and hovering around our table was obnoxious, but also warranted.
To start, the actual quality of the fried chicken itself (in all formats—fingers, bone-in, on-bun…) was crispy, not overly greasy, and just all around perfectly executed. Not only did it hold up well sitting in to-go containers for roughly 30 minutes or so until it was go-time, but it also held up well as next day leftovers.
The mac and cheese, collards, and the deviled eggs were also absolutely stellar—all of which I now have newfound cravings for (#beachbod). I only had a few bites of the gumbo before Jim packed it back up to take home, but WOW. It was rich and savory and spicy, and would be absolutely perfect with a big hunk of biscuit or bread.
Really, the only things that weren’t craveable from the meal were the potato salad and the barbecue sauce served with the fingers. I had my sights set on a creamy, mustardy, southern-style potato salad, but it was pretty loose and thin and lacking in much flavor. The barbecue sauce, though, was the one that really left me scratching my head. It tasted like an actual shot of Fireball… but sweeter if you can imagine that. I am typically an over-user of condiments, but the chicken luckily didn’t need any sauce because it was just that good. However, I still would have absolutely darted for the Sweet Baby Ray’s if I were at home. 4.5/5
Fried chicken is such a wonderful culinary creation. That crispy, crunchy skin is such a big part of what makes fried chicken so good, so I was curious to see how well Chicken Run would travel when transported in steamy takeout vessels. I am very pleased to report that the structural integrity of that crunchy coating was still not only sound, but also delicious.
I’m particularly impressed with how well Nashville chicken bun traveled. The skin stayed crispy even though it was topped with coleslaw, pimento cheese, and other tasty accompaniments. The sandwich was also delicious, so that was a major positive.
While it’s easy to focus on the chicken in a place called Chicken Run, don’t sleep on the sides. I am particularly fond of deviled eggs and Chicken Run didn’t disappoint with their mustardy, paprika-laden version of this delightful dish. The mac and cheese was a straightforward, comforting take on the classic side, and that’s just fine by me. We also snagged a couple of cocktails – the Blacksburg and the De La Soul. Both were quite refreshing, with the De La Soul being particularly nice to balance out some heavy fried foods.
Honestly, the only drawback I found was Soho’s barbecue sauce for the fingers and fries (note: I did not sample the aforementioned potato salad). I don’t mind sweet, but this sauce tasted like mincemeat pie blended into a cup. I would have liked something to balance the rainsiny sweetness, but that’s why I just stuck with the lemon-pepper aioli. 4/5