Wingstop Launches Thighstop Amid Chicken Wing Shortage

Wingstop is expanding its body of chicken offerings with Thighstop, an online-only, temporary restaurant that will deliver chicken thighs via DoorDash amid a chicken shortage.

The “new thigh concept” will be available at more than 1,400 locations nationwide and is addressing the “consumer’s fear of a chicken wing shortage head-on,” the company said in a release provided by Thighstop spokesperson Megan Sprague.

“We think they’ll appeal to guests because they’re a different part of the chicken and therefore a new way to experience Wingstop flavor,” Charlie Morrison, CEO and chairman of Wingstop restaurants, said.

“They eat like a wing, but with more meat,” Morrison continued.

Chicken lovers will have access to a menu filled with crispy thighs of a naked and sauce-covered variety with 11 signature Wingstop flavors.

And it doesn’t stop with the drumstick. Other Wingstop items including its ranch and blue cheese dips, fried corn, french fries and rolls are also available to order from Thighstop.

Eventually, Morrison hopes thighs will be incorporated into the larger Wingstop menu as a permanent addition.

Thighstop claimed in its launch announcement that it is addressing consumer fear over a wing shortage which made the news last month.

The nation’s chicken wars and cravings for comfort food during the pandemic have made poultry so scarce and expensive that some restaurants are limiting or running out of chicken sandwiches, wings and tenders. Others are considering changes to menus and promotions.

Heavy winter storms took a larger bite out of supply. While some restaurants have not been able to meet demand, it’s unclear if and how the low supplies will affect consumers in the grocery store.

The poultry industry is tamping down growing alarm over a chicken shortage with National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super saying there was a “very tight supply but short of a shortage.”

“Yes, supply is somewhat tight, but the sky certainly isn’t falling,” Super said in May. “Chicken producers are doing everything they can to overcome the devastating impact of Mother Nature when she inflicted the once-in-a-lifetime winter storm on Texas and nearby states — major chicken producing regions.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, broilers — chickens raised for meat — slaughter was down 4% in the first quarter of 2021, with pounds produced down 3%. Production began picking back up in early April, Super said.

Morrison said the shortage has less to do with product than it does with labor.

“The shortage has as much to do with the impact of government stimulus and creating an artificially high wage rate that is competitive to the people that are necessary to actually process chicken,” Morrison said. “Because of this, the absolute number of chickens that are being processed is down.”

Sales are still on the rise at Wingstop, though. Morrison said that Wingstop saw 20.7% sales growth in the first quarter of this year in spite of constraints. Introducing Thighstop, he said, allows the company to focus on additional parts of the chicken.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago’s Egg Roll Boom Is Fueled By Black Restaurateurs, Who Fill The Chinese American Snack With Everything From Jerk Chicken To Italian Beef

It’s no secret Chicago takes its egg rolls very seriously.

The Tribune has extensively chronicled the history behind the iconic Chicago-style egg roll, defined by the addition of peanut butter in the filling. The dish has been a fixture at Chicago’s Chinese restaurants for decades, popularized by Chinese American restaurants large and small.

As former Tribune writer and current WBEZ reporter Monica Eng explored in a 2013 Tribune article, “Though dim sum chefs in Hong Kong produce a similar snack called a spring roll, the egg roll, as we know it, is a creation of early Chinese American restaurateurs who used local ingredients to create Chinese-ish foods that would appeal to American diners.”

But if you wander around predominantly Black neighborhoods on the West and South sides, you’ll notice a completely different kind of egg roll — one that uses the same wrapper, but then leaves nearly everything else behind.

The most common filling for these egg rolls is jerk chicken, and since it began to pop up in the city five years ago, it has become nearly ubiquitous on menus of Black-owned restaurants and dozens of non-Chinese establishments across the city.

Here are five great egg rolls from Black restaurateurs you can find around the Chicago area.

1) Dinkey’s Lucky Rolls at Bobby’s Video Poker and Slots

One of the people most responsible for the current egg roll boom is Ernesta Berry, who goes by the nickname Dinkey the Egg Roll Lady.

“Egg rolls have been a family thing since we were kids,” Berry said. “My grandmother used to make ground beef egg rolls all the time.”

When Berry and her sister, Lekia Lowery, opened L&B Soul Kitchen in suburban Bellwood in 2012, they served egg rolls that were similar to the ones their grandmother used to make. As Berry explained in an October article by Mike Sula for the Chicago Reader, “I called them soul rolls.”

But by 2015, she realized that soul food sales were lagging, and her customers became far more excited about Caribbean-rooted jerk chicken. “Soul food was going so slow,” Berry said, “but I noticed everyone was loving jerk chicken, so we decided to put it in an egg roll.” The jerk chicken egg roll was born.

When fresh from the fryer, the crackly wrapper is dotted with delicate bubbles from the oil. The chicken filling is both juicy and intriguingly complex, with just enough chile heat to perk up each bite.

Berry didn’t stop at jerk chicken. She has continued to come up with new filling ideas year after year. “I make 79 different flavors of egg rolls,” Berry said proudly. With Greg Hudgins, she and her sister helped open Tastee Rolls, though Berry eventually decided to strike out on her own.

Currently, you can order Berry’s egg rolls at Dinkey’s Lucky Rolls, located inside Bobby’s Video Poker and Slots in suburban Hillside. But Berry is getting ready to open a new restaurant at 3652 W. Chicago Ave. within the next two weeks called, appropriately enough, The Egg Roll Lady.

2) Tastee Rolls

The tiny restaurant that popularized the jerk chicken egg roll is still bringing in the crowds. Though her sister left, Lekia Lowery is currently manager and head chef of Tastee Rolls.

Owner Greg Hudgins couldn’t be more bullish about the future. He’s already opened a second location in Chatham, and he hopes to expand out of state soon.

Each location offers dozens of different fillings, from shrimp and cheese to garlic Parmesan chicken. The iconic jerk chicken egg roll ($4.25) is the bestseller, and a worthy place to start. But my favorite option is actually the Italian beef egg roll ($4.75), which is stuffed with tender beef, gooey cheese and spicy giardiniera.

3) BigCity Cheesesteaks

Brian Hicks, owner of BigCity Cheesesteaks, said he opened the restaurant in Hammond, Indiana, to serve (as the name suggests) cheesesteaks. It was his wife who initially persuaded him to start serving egg rolls.

“I was skeptical,” Hicks said. “I hadn’t seen a restaurant around here serve them.” But once he added the dish to his menu in January 2020, he never regretted it.

“My customers love them,” Hicks said. “I sell roughly 400 to 600 on Saturdays. I have to get in at 6 a.m. to freshly roll them.”

You won’t find jerk chicken here. Instead, Hicks said the most popular egg roll is the cheesesteak ($3.75), which arrives stuffed with sauteed beef, molten cheese and chopped bell peppers. But he’s also proud of the gyro egg roll ($4.50) and the BigCity egg roll ($4.50), which is filled with bacon, pepper jack cheese and hot peppers.

Hicks said he’s always trying to come up with new fillings. “I’m actually trying to come up with a new one right now, maybe a seafood one,” Hicks said. He’s also considering opening another restaurant that focuses exclusively on egg rolls, because business has been so good.

4) Jay’s Backyard BBQ

Even barbecue restaurants are getting into the egg roll game. Jay’s Backyard BBQ in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago serves a variety of smoked meats, from tender rib tips to jerk chicken. But the shop is probably best known for the Obama sandwich, a righteous combination of jerk chicken and jerk steak covered in Provolone cheese and heaped together on a bun.

So it makes sense that while the shop serves a very good jerk chicken egg roll, what you really want is the Obama egg roll ($4.55). The crispy covering shatters with each bite, giving way to a deluge of cheese and plenty of juicy, spicy meat.

5) 3Kings Jerk

You can find egg rolls at essentially every jerk chicken restaurant in Austin, and there are a lot of them. But I’m partial to the ones served at 3Kings Jerk. Like at the best places, the egg rolls are fried to order, leaving the wrapper extra crispy, not greasy. Obviously, jerk chicken is the most popular option, but that’s just the beginning. You can also score egg rolls stuffed with cheesesteak, jerk shrimp, and shrimp and broccoli.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Taco Bell Joins Chicken Sandwich Wars With ‘Chicken Sandwich Taco’, Popeyes Responds With Taco Hack

Taco Bell leapt right into the grease-fueled flames of the fast food chicken wars on Monday, with the unveiling of its much-anticipated new fried chicken menu item, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. While it remains to be seen if this sandwich-taco hybrid will convert Popeyes Chicken Sandwich fans to the taco side, so to speak (probably not), the Louisiana-style chicken chain is already trolling it on Tuesday with a new menu hack created specifically for taco lovers. 

Popeyes posted a step-by-step “TikTurial” of the menu hack on TikTok, complete with the amusingly inaccurate text-to-speech effect. The company created the hack to ensure customers can enjoy fried chicken tacos and “maintain the high quality that they have grown to know and love from Popeyes,” according to a spokesperson. Translation: Forget about Taco Bell’s new take on a chicken sandwich and turn our actual chicken sandwich into tacos, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Notably, the menu hack leaves you with two of the so-called tacos. Here are the steps outlined in the TikTok post:

1. Order the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.
2. Remove chicken fillet from the bun.
3. Rub the top and bottom bun pieces together to spread the sauce.
4. Tear or cut the chicken fillet in half.
5. Fold the top and bottom bun pieces like tacos, then place the chicken fillet halves in each and garnish with the pickles.

Or… you can just skip steps two through five and just eat your chicken sandwich like a sandwich—you know, without having to play with your food. Then again, we won’t judge if you want to try the hack just for fun. That’s presumably what Popeyes is going for here. That, and snark. The chain did start the chicken wars with that shade-filled Chick-fil-A tweet after all.

Source: Thrillist

Al Pastor Papi – The Al Pastor King Of San Francisco (Street Food Icons)

Miguel Escobedo loves three things: San Francisco, DJing, and al pastor, a spit-roasted pork popular in Mexican cuisine. Originally from Mexico City, Miguel’s passions have spawned a career making some of the best Mexican food in the Bay Area, and his current project, Al Pastor Papi, focuses on perfecting the al pastor experience. Miguel talks about his journey deep into the history of al pastor, where he learned about the food’s roots in Lebanon, and about how giving back to the community he loves has made his culinary career even richer.

Food Personality Eddie Huang Announces Closure of Baohaus NYC – Taiwanese Pork Belly Buns that Catapulted ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ Autobiography & TV Show on Asian American Experience

Eddie Huang has just announced the official closing of the bao shop that started it all. Opened in 2009, Huang and his close friends/partners set out to tell their story through food, via delicious pork belly buns (gua bao) to be exact, and Baohaus in New York City‘s Lower East Side was born. Two years later, Baohaus moved to a larger location in East Village where they remained up until now.

The popularity of his New York establishment has aided in catapulting Huang into the fields in which he has always believed saw the least bit of Asian-American presence — Television, film, and literature — to which he has now all successfully offered his voice to. Huang points out that it was not an easy decision with, “We held out as long as we could, but we have decided to close. Shouts to the customers that ran in thinking we were open, it means a lot. It’s been a wild and fulfilling 10-year ride with Baohaus but I’d be lying if I said ‘I can’t believe what’s happened.’”

In the Instagram post, Huang shouted out his team, plugged his upcoming film Boogie, quoted Raekwon, and paid his respects to Prodigy and Anthony Bourdain. And with that, Baohaus turned on their glowing-blue neon sign for the last time. It’s on to the next adventure for the Human Panda.

Source: Hypebeast

Nebraska Man Gets National Attention After Passionately Calling Out Ridiculousness of Boneless Chicken Wings at City Council Meeting

“Lincoln has the opportunity to be a social leader in this country,” Christensen said on Monday night. “We have been casually ignoring a problem that has gotten so out of control that our children are throwing around names and words without even understanding their true meaning, treating things as though they’re normal.”

In three days, his plea — satirical and mildly serious — was seen online by hundreds of thousands before airing nationally on “Good Morning America,” “Fox & Friends,” and being featured in The New York Times.

“Nothing about boneless chicken wings actually comes from the wing of a chicken,” he said. “We would be disgusted if a butcher was mislabeling their cuts of meats, but then we go around pretending as though the breast of a chicken is its wing?”

Renaming them, he said, is essential. Stopping the misrepresentation, a pressing matter. The options, he said, are endless.

“We can call them Buffalo-style chicken tenders,” he said. “We can call them ‘wet tenders.’ We can call them ‘saucy nugs,’ or ‘trash.’

Source: Omaha World-Herald

Boneless Wings

Buffalo-Wild-Wings-Introduces-New-And-Improved-Boneless-Wings-678x381.jpg

Since Chicken Strip is trending on Twitter (Ross Stripling), I’d just like to settle the debate on ppl saying boneless wings are “like chicken nuggets”— They’re more like mini chicken strips because you can still see the muscle of the breast. Nuggets are grounded, reshaped, chicken mush!

KFC Trinidad apologizes for ‘insensitive’ Emancipation Day artwork

The post, published on its social media pages on Saturday, was captioned “KFC wishes you a happy Emancipation Day”, however, the imagery was what triggered a wave of criticism as several Trinidadians viewed it as insensitive.

The artwork, which has since been deleted, depicted KFC’s famous spicy chicken drumstick, with the silhouette of what appeared to be a hand in the background displaying the black power gesture.

Several hours later, KFC TT returned with another graphic, one filled with balloons accompanied by a caption which wrote, “Happy Emancipation Day (sic) On August 1, 1985, Trinidad & Togabo became the first country in the world to declare a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery.”

Source: Buzz Caribbean

The Halal Guys’ Chicken And Gyro Platter Is NYC’s Most Legendary Street Food

The Halal Guys first came to the streets of New York City in 1990, when the three founders opened up a hot-dog cart in Midtown. They realized there was a demand from Muslim cab drivers looking for a halal meal, so they began serving American halal food from the cart. The Arabic term halal means ‘lawful’ and is often used in Islam to describe meat that is permissible to eat based on specific religious guidelines. But in New York, many people know halal as the affordable food they can find at many street carts across the city. At The Halal Guys’ original cart on 53rd Street and 6th Avenue, people wait in line for the iconic combo platter, a foil dish packed with chicken and gyro over rice, accompanied by lettuce, tomato, pita, and the famous and secret red and white sauces.

Editor’s Note: This episode was filmed in January 2020. The Halal Guys’ carts in New York City are currently open for takeout while restaurant locations provide both takeout and delivery. Check with your nearest location for details.