Northern Chicken opened its brick and mortar a few weeks ago, replacing the 124 Street burger joint Relish with some tasty chicken. It feels like they just introduced their chicken yesterday at their inaugural pop-up event, but it’s been a long six months since I’ve had their food. If you’re looking for a local chicken option, mixed in with some Southern flare and hip hop tunes, then you’ll have to visit Northern Chicken.I’ve had a few visits under my belt now to Northern Chicken, the location convenient for me and the need for fried chicken and comfort food steadily increasing as it gets colder. Chefs and owners Andrew Cowan (of Packrat Louie and previously of Century Hospitality Group) and Matt Phillips (previously Century Hospitality Group) have delivered on what they promised. The space is warm and inviting, picnic-style tables in the front and a more private rumpus room in the back. You can enjoy your fried chicken and bourbon or beer whilst watching your favourite game on Northern Chicken’s screens, or you can keep it family-friendly with some homemade lemonade or iced tea.
The menu is small and compact, something I greatly appreciate. Ordering at the counter makes it quick and easy and the “seat-yourself, we bring the food out to you” makes it nice and casual.The Original Fried Chicken is always a good start if it’s your first visit. A moderately thick, crisp batter, but not thick enough for serious crunch — a batter style that suits my tastebuds. It’s not as crispy as some Korean fried chicken, the only chicken I’ve been really eating in Edmonton, but I’ve got no complaints to multiple chicken options. The chicken is cooked perfectly, tender and moist, and most importantly, seasoned all the way through so you don’t even miss the skin if it’s all gone.
The Hot Fried Chicken is hands down my favourite at Northern Chicken. A good amount of heat, incorporated right into the batter and not just hot sauce slathered on. I like to keep my risk of soggy chicken low. Hot sauce is available table side though if that’s your thing. The housemade pickles are amazing, on the sweeter side rather than overly acidic, and a great complement to the spicy chicken. Once I tried the two staples, I moved on to the rest of the menu. The Gluten Free Beer Can Chicken is a healthier alternative, roasted to perfection. It’s not going to beat the fried chicken in my opinion, and if you were looking for healthy options to begin with, I don’t think you have your priorities straight! Just kidding. I’m all for health food options, but you’re here for fried chicken. Sides are anything but at Northern Chicken. They can stand up on their own two feet and I appreciate the thought gone into their development. Particularly the Peanut Potato Salad. I didn’t even know this was a thing. Sharp white onions, green onions, hits of jalapeño peppers, potatoes, and of course, peanuts. Joe’s allergy to peanuts prevents me from ordering anything with the nut but I haven’t really missed it. I’ve never been a peanut butter fan either, even as a child. Surprisingly, Northern Chicken’s potato salad is one of the best I’ve had. It just works. Don’t ask me how, just try it. The Dorito Mac ’N’ Cheese is a popular favourite, nobody really needs another reason to order macaroni and cheese but sure, throw on the chips! I’m not sure if it’s incorporated into the pasta cheese sauce at all as I could only detect it when sprinkled on for crunch, but the macaroni holds up on its own. While all mains come with baked beans, I’ll gladly substitute the beans out for this side. Honey Thyme Cornbread is a heartier option. My order was slightly dry and crumbly on the edges but the honey drizzle really helps. I love fresh thyme and didn’t mind it’s strong flavour. I love herbs in anything!
The Coleslaw is crunchier than I’d like, and still not the same as the initial Northern Chicken pop-up. I can’t pinpoint it but it’s just not for me. Perhaps more dressing would make it stellar, who knows. The use of dill really amped the side up for me but might be a concern for those who aren’t dill fans.Those who aren’t craving chicken can grab the Peameal Bacon Sandwich: layers of thinly sliced pork belly, coated in cornmeal on top of a bun with a heavy spread of mustard. Fantastic!
Round out your meal with a slice of Buttermilk Pie (not pictured) or one of the daily pie specials, a dish not to be missed. I enjoyed my slice by itself but you could fancy it up for an additional $2 with ice cream. I’ve taken home a slice of pie every time.
At each visit, service at Northern Chicken was fantastic. Orders were taken in quickly, and despite being a seat-yourself establishment, the servers still check up on your table to make sure your drinks and food are amazing. The kitchen was constantly pumping out food each time I was there and came out very timely. Taking your fried chicken out to go is another option, and I’ll let you know that reheating it in the toaster oven the next day made for a mighty fine lunch!Northern Chicken is open late on most days (closed Wednesdays), and specials and daily features are soon to come. They’ve got a great lunch deal for those on the go: 3 pieces of cold chicken & coleslaw for $10. Steal. They’ve also launched a dine-in Sunday late night special starting at 8pm: Spiked Lemonade or Iced Tea, Jack Daniels, and Old Milwaukee for $4, and original fried chicken pieces go for $2 a piece. Heck yes.
I’m happy to say that Northern Chicken is one of the best fried chicken in Edmonton. I still have a lot more of the menu to try out and can’t wait to come back. Check it out, support the local business, and let me know what you think!Northern Chicken
10704 124 Street