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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Fry The Coop Opens In Portage Park With Nashville Hot Chicken And Other Southern Staples

The Portage Park location opened earlier this month in the former Gyro Eats corner joint. A grand opening is Thursday.

Fry The Coop, which has a location in West Town and one forthcoming in Portage Park, is known for its four chicken sandwiches.
Fry The Coop
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PORTAGE PARK — Fry the Coop is open after expanding to Portage Park.

The chicken sandwich restaurant chain, which has four suburban locations and a spot in West Town, announced plans in May to move to the former Gyro Eats spot at 4300 N. Milwaukee Ave. Delays in getting its license, finishing construction and hiring employees pushed back the opening, but the restaurant opened earlier this month, owner Joe Fontana said.

A ribbon-cutting opening is scheduled for Thursday morning with local officials, Fontana said.

“We are so excited about Portage Park and the future there,” Fontana said in a message. “The community has been so supportive. We are so lucky, grateful and honored to be there.”

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Fry the Coop’s Portage Park location is now open in the former Gyro Eats spot at 4300 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The business offers Nashville hot fried chicken sandwiches, fried chicken and other Southern-inspired items.

Fontana hopes to bring more food options and foot traffic to that strip of Milwaukee Avenue, which has seen a resurgence in business.

Fry the Coop’s most popular item is the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, which is dipped in beef fat. The fries are cooked in beef fat.

The fat gives the chicken its signature reddish color, Fontana said. Then comes the dry rub, a combination of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, onion and brown sugar.

“Something about that combo is this addicting flavor where you go home, lie in bed and you’re thinking about it still,” Fontana previously said. “Depending on how hot you want chicken, we have different dry rubs. Mild, med, hot, crazy and ‘little insanity.’ Each one of those is a different spice blend we came up with.”

Fontana launched the company in 2017 with a spot in Oak Lawn. He said he jumped on the chance to take over the former Gyro Eats spot.

With its side patio, takeout window and central location in the neighborhood, the small joint is a good fit for the business, Fontana said. 

For now, the restaurant is open noon-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Hours could expand once more people are hired, Fontana said.

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