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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Luella’s Gospel Bird, Fried Chicken Eatery, Opens Wednesday In Bucktown

Check out the menu and look inside the new Damen Avenue restaurant.

Luella's Gospel Bird will serve up fried chicken, sides and weekend brunch.
Luella's Gospel Bird/Facebook
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BUCKTOWN — Luella’s Gospel Bird, a new spot for fried chicken and Southern sides like collard greens and candied yams, plans to open on Wednesday in Bucktown. 

Located at 2009 N. Damen Ave. in the former Sublime Sushi, Luella’s Gospel Bird is a smaller offshoot of Lincoln Square’s popular Luella’s Southern Kitchen, which opened in 2015.

Both establishments are named for owner and chef Darnell Reed’s great-grandmother Luella Funches, who moved to Chicago in 1943 from Mississippi. 

Reed was inspired to name his second restaurant Luella’s Gospel Bird because he read in a Soul Food history book that fried chicken was eaten so often by Southerners after church on Sundays that it was referred to as “the gospel bird,” Eater reported in August. 

The serving portions are half a chicken and include a breast, wing and thigh, according to chef Mike Grant, who was onsite Monday afternoon.

Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
The menu.

According to Grant, Luella’s will offer three types of chicken: buttermilk chicken deep fried in beef fat, smoked jerk chicken and “the gospel,” which will be buttermilk fried chicken drenched in a tangy Creole sauce accented by benne seeds. 

Brunch options will be both sweet and savory. Grant and Reed plan to prepare blueberry and brown sugar French toast, chicken and waffles, shrimp and bacon grits and more dishes. 

Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Chef Mike Grant trained under Luella’s owner and head chef Darnell Reed.

Grant was the first cook hired by Reed at the Lincoln Square location and he’ll be working mainly at the new Bucktown outpost.

“I’m excited and have been with Luella’s since it first opened.  You’re the third person who has walked in today, asking when are we opening?” Grant told a Block Club reporter.

The cozy restaurant offers a large community table that seats 12, as well as a two two-tops and four counter seats overlooking Damen Avenue. 

Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
A big community table seats 12.

Luella’s Gospel Bird is neighbored by Shawarma Garden and Polonia Liquors —  and it’s just a few doors south of Nick’s Pit Stop, another chicken-focused restaurant, albeit charbroiled on a grill and not fried.

Beverage options will include water, tea, soda and possibly lemonade. Luella’s is BYOB with no corkage fee. 

Luella’s Gospel Bird will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, from noon – 9 p.m. Monday- Friday. Brunch hours are 10 a.m – 3 p.m. and dinner from 4 – 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. Delivery via Caviar and takeout are also available. Ph: 773-904-7704. 

Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Luella’s Gospel Bird opens Wednesday in Bucktown.
Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
“Sugar Shack” by Ernie Barnes hangs on the wall of Luella’s Gospel Bird as well as in its sister restaurant Luella’s Southern Kitchen, Chef Grant said.
Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Luella’s Gospel Bird at 2009 N. Damen Ave.