The owners of Stack’d Burgers & Beer just launched a new restaurant concept … and it’s a hot one.
CHiKN, located at 3712 Forbes Ave. in Oakland, specializes in spicy chicken sandwiches, strips and salads. Customers can choose their heat level, from Mild to Damn Hot, and then cool down their mouths at the full-service bar, which boasts 12 rotating, draft beers and more than 50 bottled varieties.
Maurry Mendelovich, who co-owns the place with his brother, Shawn Mendelovich, and friends Jamie Rodgers, Michael Garner and Andrew Haney, says the group has been developing CHiKN for several years.
They explored the South, trying different fried chicken sandwiches, including Nashville’s famous hot version, then came up with their own breading, seasoning and cooking method. Guests can watch their food being prepared in the open kitchen.
Although the menu also features homemade sides, such as mac and cheese and crinkle-cut fries, the main focus is on the bird.
“In a crowded restaurant market, you need to stand out by offering one product that is amazing,” Maurry Mendelovich says. “It starts with the food; that’s the star of the show. We create chicken with a juicy inside while maintaining that golden, crispy outside.”
CHiKN, which opened on Jan. 18, will soon offer add a chicken and waffles breakfast to their menu.
After just two weeks, demand for the food at CHiKN has been so high that the 50-seat restaurant is set to open a second-floor area next week that can accommodate an additional 50 patrons.
The space is a former Qdoba, but all remnants of the Mexican fast-casual eatery are gone. One wall of the restaurant is made up of 240 plants that are maintained by an automatic watering system (and some help from the experts at Gidas Flowers, located across the street).
Maurry Mendelovich and Rodgers met as freshmen at the University of Pittsburgh and opened Stack’d in 2011. The local build-you-own burger chain now has locations in Oakland, Shadyside, Wexford and Hampton.
They’re happy to bring CHiKN to their old stomping grounds and have not ruled out the possibility of expanding the concept to other areas of the city.
“Oakland is such a great community,” Maurry Mendelovich says. “It’s a fun vibe. It’s a great neighborhood to start in.”