If you aren’t lucky enough to have an old-timey grandmother who invites you over for fried chicken dinners every Sunday, not to worry – you’re in good company. Most people, even the sweetest grannies on earth, don’t want to hassle with the time-consuming and messy process of frying chicken. And that’s good news for enterprising restauranteurs who are finding a deep-fried gold mine in the “elevated” fried chicken game.
Fried chicken is no longer a regional food, but a national trend, even including the “hot chicken” phenomenon that began in Nashville, Tennessee. These days, you can find fried chicken on menus of many comfort-food-driven locations. One celebrated station of fried chicken goodness is happening way up north in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At Revival, chef and co-owner Thomas Boemer serves family-style dinners that have captured the imagination and interest of even the most stolid northerners.
“In many ways, we’ve lost the identity of classic American food being done with as much care as that given in the finest restaurants in the world,” Boemer says. “We’ve gotten away from the style of those great homes cooks who perfected a recipe and created a style of dining. That’s why Revival resonates so well with people. It’s what used to be everyday comfort food prepared with a high level of integrity and care, and the experience is about as close as you can get to a real home-cooked meal.”
Revival offers four varieties: Southern Fried, Tennessee Hot (brushed with a cayenne spice blend), Poultrygeist (with ghost chiles) or Gluten Friendly. There are four styles of house-made hot sauce on offer, from mild to super-spicy. Everything is served family-style, with choices for old fashioned sides like a pimento cheese and meat plate or fried green tomatoes.
Simple prep, great results
Boemer keeps it simple, using Amish-raised birds tenderized in a buttermilk marinade and fried in lard. “There’s no secret seasoning blend,” he says. “It’s just salt and pepper.” Chicken is fried fresh for every table. And while there may be few ingredients, he says that making a great fried chicken meal is more difficult than it might seem. “You’re dealing with a cut of meat that’s fairly large and you want it to be tender, juicy, flavorful and crispy. That’s asking a lot.”
Challenging as it may be, Boemer is clearly doing something right. Lines that snake down the block have been common at the no-reservations Minneapolis location of Revival, but hope is on the way: a cross-town site opens in St. Paul this fall.