In her wrap-up of 2016 food trends for DFW.com, contributor Teresa Gubbins included chicken, and she wasn’t just talking about the abundance of fast-food/fast-casual chicken joints in the far north Fort Worth/Keller area.
“The ‘better burger’ trend that swept DFW is being supplanted by the new ‘better’: chicken,” Gubbins wrote, citing Gus’s Fried Chicken’s Fort Worth location on Magnolia Avenue, Quincy’s Chicken Shack in Coppell (and coming soon to Mansfield), and Street’s Fried Chicken in Dallas. Our Bud Kennedy recommended Chicago’s Chicken Coop in Arlington, and downtown Fort Worth restaurant Little Red Wasp has even gotten into the act with three variations on fried chicken, including Nashville hot, on its dinner menu.
Now comes Prohibition Chicken, opening April 25 in Lewisville. It’s a shortish (if almost inevitably frustrating) drive from Grapevine and Southlake, a little longer for most of the rest of Tarrant and, judging from the menu, worth putting up with some traffic.
As the name partly indicates, this is a bar with Prohibition-era cocktails. But it’s also a restaurant, and there’s more there than just chicken. There is also beef (Beeman Family Ranch Akaushi tri-tip), fish (hickory-grilled trout), hot sides including “Pot Licker Power Greens with Pick a Pepper Vinegar” (collards, kale and mustard greens braised with country ham and “pot licker”) and cold sides including a shaved Brussels sprouts/fennel/orange slaw.
And then, of course, there’s the chicken: you can get it crispy-fried, hot chile-fried, pecan smoke or “smoke fried.” And you can get plenty of it. And it brings “locavore” to a new level: The owners are raising their own chickens through Texas-owned and -operated Dunbar Hollow Farms. “It was important to us that we know where our chickens come from,” co-owner Roger Kaplan says in a release. “We work closely with Dunbar to raise antibiotic-free, humanely nurtured and handled chicken delivered fresh to us everyday.”
The menu is family-style, meant for sharing, and each entree comes with four sides (two hot, two cold). A “Big Salad’ is an extra buck a person; a basket of biscuits is $3.50.
The prices might make you squawk a little: chicken and sides are $19 per person, the tri-tip takes the upper end at $31. But it does sound like a lot of food. A bar menu ranges from $6 for “Texas Tumbleweeds” (described as “crispy fried tobacco onions”) to $10 for a smoked-chicken/chili-cheese poutine.
Speaking of the bar, the cocktail menu is divided into “classics” (Manhattans, Hemingway daiquiris, negroni, etc.) and “Prohibition Libations,” including such intriguing-sounding options as “Know One’s Onions” (barrel-aged Patron, lime, agave, Stoli Ginger Beer) and “Forbidden Beer” (fresh root beer with Tennyson absinthe). Cocktails range from $10 to $15.
The main dining room will seat about 130. A U-shaped bar will seat 20. There’s also a biscuit bar, a covered patio and open-air space. And a speakeasy touch: a bar you enter through a hidden door that is made to look like an old phone booth.
Prohibition Chicken is owned by the aforementioned Roger Kaplan (a 30-year plus restaurant/hospitality veteran and founder of Restaurant Innovations, “ a restaurant support and collaborative consulting company”), Josh Babb (a 20-year-plus industry vet whose background includes Kenichi in Victory Park and Nove Italiano in Dallas, as well as Nordstrom restaurants and Dallas-based Brinker International), and Sean Clavin (another two-decade plus industry vet whose credits include opening the Red Square martini bar in Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in 1999).