PHOTO BY BRENDA JOHNSON / HEAVY TABLE
This story originally appeared in the May 13, 2022 edition of the Heavy Table’s Tap newsletter. Back the Heavy Table on Patreon and get Minnesota food news every Friday morning.
Aren’t there enough fried chicken places in the metro these days? Ever since Revival went full steam ahead into frying chicken and making it better than tired chain offerings, the Twin Cities has had a bountiful array of choices: Nashville hot, Korean, dill pickle, vegan, all kinds of iterations. Maybe the Twin Cities has enough fried chicken.
Concept founder and spokesperson Jared Brewington doesn’t think so. Brewington, who helmed the lost-and-lamented Funky Grits, thinks there’s room for more, and he’s about to open Official Fried Chicken (OFC) near Minnehaha Falls. As the website cockily notes, “Chicken that comes correct.”
“OFC is an idea that came around the fact that chicken is the connector food for all human history,” he said. “And fried chicken being the style of it connects globally, almost throughout time. It’s always been there, it’s just found a high point of this cycle of its life. With that comes awesome opportunities to see different versions of that. And the concepts all have their own identity and branding. They’re all unique. And in that, they’re beloved. Our fried chicken being the old school of it all, bone-in bird, skin-on, crispy.”
Unlike some eateries that have extensive fried chicken options, from tenders and boneless wings to sandwiches and platters, OFC is taking a much more focused approach. The eatery will offer bone-in chicken with just three different flavor options: original, barbecue, and buffalo. “Always crispy, always juicy, always quick,” he said. “They’re seasonings, not sauces. Then we have our long golden crispy fries. And that is our menu.”
Father and daughter brainstorming
The idea came for OFC came from his 13-year-old daughter, who Brewington describes as a concept muse. “My daughter made the joke, one day, ‘OFC, just serves chicken.’ And I said, ‘Oh, for Christ’s sakes. Oklahoma Fried Chicken.’ She goes, ‘No, Official Fried Chicken, just chicken.’ We always make up concepts together, me and her. Have fun. And I liked the idea. And a group of known people came together. And this idea grew together. I talked to some consultants and advisors, our partners. This idea was an exciting one. She says it’s her invention.”
Location felt right
Brewington said he chose his location on East 46th Street because he sees it as an area that’s growing, with an increase in younger families and new residents. OFC is in one of three new apartment buildings, with more being constructed. “I myself grew up around there,” he said. ‘We know the neighbors, the new residents and the families there. It’s a speed and style that would fit their style. We’re really ready for the picnickers at the Falls. We’ll have your Falls feasts where you grab your chicken and fries and then head up a couple blocks.”
Contactless and Covid-friendly
The chicken will be strictly takeout and delivery, no dine-in, with contactless order and pick-up capabilities. “State-of-the-art technology, including the guest experience, which is self-order,” he said. “Then it goes to a pickup cabinet where they’re going to scan their phone or put in their code that was texted to them. The box opens automatically, and they’re on their way very quickly with hot, fresh bone-in chicken and fries. Regardless of the pandemic, that really is in line with modern guest experience options as well. In fact, some of the technology and cooking procedures that we’re doing is making it so we have a smaller, dedicated, higher-paid team which reduces the stress of the number of people, but also make this a brand that can grow.”
As for delivery, he noted that that the relationship between restaurants and delivery services is a rocky one, but not one likely to go away soon. “We may have fast forwarded with COVID on certain elements of things. And that’s referencing technological advancements in that world, last-mile delivery. The world of third-party delivery in restaurants wasn’t always a beautiful relationship, and it may not even be a beautiful relationship in a lot of its elements, but it’s respecting culture. We’re focused on getting that neighborhood served and fed and loved.”
Even before opening, Brewington has plans to connect OFC’s platform to youth homelessness via support for YouthLink by providing visibility to YouthLink’s mission and work through OFC’s channels of communication, support through fundraising activity, and community involvement. “We do have a social responsibility that we are acknowledging,” he said. “There’s connections to our organization in this team to YouthLink. I’m on the board of directors. That is something that I think is the responsibility of community-based business. We ask of others, and so we should do as well. Yeah, we’re asking for money for food. But there’s a deeper relationship. If it’s intentional, we will acknowledge and will contribute to the grand goal of eradicating youth homelessness. We know that that just is the beginning of the journey, that lens and focal point. We want our staff to see and know that social responsibility inroads are pretty easy with us.”
Opening late May
4010 East 46th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406