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Fast-casual chicken eatery to open in South Palo Alto

Uploaded: Jun 28, 2018
The Chickery is no longer opening at 3850 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, but an eager former franchisee is opening her own chicken-focused restaurant there instead.

Fowl Play Roadside Chicken, which specializes in buttermilk-fried and rotisserie-roasted chicken, will open on Monday, July 2. The restaurant's full menu will be available, plus the first 25 customers to arrive each day through Friday, July 6, will get a complimentary dish.

Fowl Play will serve fried and rotisserie chicken in sandwiches, salads and combination plates. Photo by Veronica Weber.

The Chickery, a Washington D.C.-based chicken franchise, had planned to open its first West Coast location at the El Camino Real space. Andrea Leslie, a Gilroy resident, was set to run the franchise. But restructuring at the corporate level of the company threw up obstacles, including months of delays, and The Chickery eventually "folded," Leslie said. She decided to press forward with her own eatery.

Fowl Play uses Foster Farms' "No Antibiotics Ever" Chicken in sandwiches, salads and on combination plates. Sandwiches include "The Ultimate" (fried chicken, cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato and mayo on a corn-dusted bun), "The Hot Mess" (fried chicken tossed in buffalo sauce and topped with beer-battered onion rings, Roquefort cheese, dressing, lettuce and tomato on a bun) and "The Fixin's" (roasted chicken and dressing on a ciabatta roll). There’s also a chopped salad, Asian chicken salad, quinoa salad and Wedge salad.

All sauces and dressings are made in house.

Customers can also order half or whole rotisserie chickens and sides, including tater tots, macaroni and cheese, roasted fingerling potatoes, cornbread and elote (Mexican grilled corn). For dessert, there are dipped waffle cones, also made in house.

Every aspect of the restaurant, from its mission to menu, was developed "bottom-up" by the entire staff, according to a press release. Employees also came up with a donation program to help people who can’t pay for their meals. In lieu of tips, customers can donate "Fowl Play Bucks" to go to this cause.

Fowl Play will be open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To celebrate Fowl Play's opening, the following items will be available for free to the first 25 customers each day next week:

- Monday, July 2: "The Ultimate Sammie" and French fries
- Tuesday, July 3: Asian chicken salad
- Wednesday, July 4: "The Dipper" waffle cone
- Thursday, July 5: Chicken tenders and mac n' cheese
- Friday, July 6: 1/4 rotisserie chicken and elote
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Anne, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Where do the chickens come from? Are they humanely raised? Most chickens aren't.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Does casual dining mean counter service or table service? Does it mean plastic silverware off paper in baskets or on plates.

We definitely need a better option than fast food, yuppie counter service, or fine dining in Palo Alto. We could do with an affordable restaurant which serves you at the table with its own parking lot.

Posted by sounds like, a resident of The Greenhouse,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm

It sounds like Anne expects that some "fowl play" was involved in making this restaurant.

Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 4:42 pm

I'm have flashbacks :^)

I guess I do have a question about the chicken if you could just tell us a little more about it.
Uh, the chicken is a heritage breed, a woodland raised chicken, that's been fed a diet of sheep's milk, soy, and hazelnuts.
I guess this is, this is local? Yes, absolutely.
I'm gonna ask you just one more time.
It's local? It is.
Is that usda organic or Oregon organic or Portland organic? It's just all across the board organic.
The hazelnuts, these are local? How big is the area where the chickens are able to roam free? I am sorry to interrupt.
I had that exact same question? Four acres.
Hmm Give me just a second.
I'll be right back, okay? Okay.
She's nice.
You were doing the right thing.
I'm too apologetic.
You are.
I-I drove way too slow here today, didn't I? Yeah.
I'm so weird with that gas pedal.
The thing just moves the whole vehicle forward and all right, so here is the chicken you'll be enjoying tonight.
You have this information? This is fantastic.
Ah, his name was Colin.
Here are his papers.
Okay? That's great.
He-he looks like a happy little guy runs around.
A lot of friends? Other chickens as friends.
Putting his little wing around another one, and kind of like palling around.
You know, I don't know that I can speak to that level of, uh, intimate knowledge about him.
Um, they do a lot to make sure their chickens, uh, are very happy.
When you say "they," I mean, who are these people raising Colin? It's a farm that's located about, uh, 30 Miles South of Portland.
And-and-and and you feel, and-and-and you have a good relationship with this farm? We do.
It's not some guy on a yacht who lives in Miami.
Oh, goodness, no! Saying that he's organic.
It tears at the core of my being the idea of someone just cashing in on a trend like organic.
No, I know the type.
Um, tell you what, we're gonna go check it out, if you don't mind.
Just if you could just hold our seats.
Oh, now now? Yeah.
We'll be right back.
We want to make sure thank you so much, Dana.

Posted by Cardiffgreg, a resident of another community,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Would be nice to have that in Cardiff by the Sea. Sounds good.

Posted by EXCITED, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm

I have been wishing for rotisserie chicken to-go since Boston Market closed.

Posted by To Anne - first comment, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 6:50 pm

To Anne:

Perhaps you should consider raising chickens yourself, to be sure ...

Posted by Reader, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 8:15 pm

While I am no expert at food service industry lingo, I believe fast casual is a step above fast food so limited table service at the most but occasionally self-service. The Wikipedia entry lists a bunch of examples of fast chain chains, but I have never been to any of them.

Looking at the photo of this restaurant's exterior, it appears to be something like a converted former Seventies-era Taco Bell, so I imagine the service here will lean closer to a self-service type of place.

Judging from the exterior the most I would expect would be to walk away from the order counter with a tray of drinks and a table flag or table tent with an order number; a food runner would deliver the food order but would not return to take additional food nor drink orders. A busser or runner would clear/clean tables after the guests depart, but that would be the extent of the service. I would definitely not expect full table service.

Posted by Chuck Short, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Anyone remember the joke in a early Seinfeld episode where Jerry asks the audience if they have a location near them where a succession of businesses regularly start and fail ("the Bermuda Triangle of retail.")?

In the Barron Park/Ventura neighborhood where this building is located, this place is the butt of that joke.

It's been a Taco Bell, a Chalateco, a Papa Murphy's, and several other businesses, all within the span of the last ten years.

While I admire Ms. Leslie's drive to go her own way, and I wish her nothing but success, this history of this location is working against her.

Nonetheless, I'll be visiting the location next week when it opens up, just like I have for all the other places that have called this place home.

(Oh no! What if my attendance at these openings is what's causing all these joints to go under?!)

Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jun 28, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Correction: Taco Bell, Chalateco and Papa Murphy's were the only businesses in this location since the 70s.

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jun 29, 2018 at 4:45 am

Old Taco Bells never die, they just get repurposed.

Posted by Tod Ford, a resident of Green Acres,
on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:21 am

I was wondering about that. Thanks. Hard to beat 5 dollar Costco chicken. I wonder what the rent is... only way to win is to do catering... and by win, I mean tread water.

Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 2, 2018 at 7:03 am

@Marc -
Ha ha ha! I was thinking the exact same thing after reading Anne's comment at the top.
Well done! :)

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 4, 2018 at 10:22 pm

I'll give this new place a try., but I've never tasted chicken as good as the old Pollos, on the corner of El Camino and Grant near the Oasis Laundry place ... long since gone as far as I know. Doing laundry in a laundromat says it's been a long time. They had a big round rotisserie over a roaring mesquite smoked fire. A little hole in the wall place, but it was the absolute best chicken. I wish I could find a place that made chicken that good again. It was a bit expensive even for back then, but worth it.

Does anyone remember Pollos in Mountain View? ( not Pollo Loco )

Posted by RespondingtoAnne, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 24, 2018 at 11:22 am

Anne, if, as the article mentions, the chicken is from Foster Farms, it is certified under the "American Humane" certification program of the American Humane Association. Here is the wikipedia page on the program: Web Link and the Foster Farms page on their certification: Web Link

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