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This Delivery-Only Restaurant Is Serving Hot Chicken With Harissa Horseradish

Charlie’s Hot Chicken, from the guy behind recent pizza pop-up Dimo’s, specializes in crispy-fried, brined chicken with optional levels of heat

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Charlie’s Hot Chicken sits on a paper sheet with crinkle cut fries, white bread, pickles, and sauce
Hot chicken from Charlie’s Hot Chicken
ChefStable / Official

There’s a new hot chicken restaurant in Portland, but you can’t visit it. Charlie’s Hot Chicken, a new delivery-only business specializing in the quintessential Nashville dish, has landed on delivery apps like Postmates and UberEats, offering brined, fried, and spice-dipped chicken on sandwiches, loaded fries, and salads.

Charlie’s is the latest venture from Doug Miriello, who had spent time at the renowned Los Angeles restaurant Gjelina before opening the new pizza pop-up Dimo’s in the former Burnside Brewing space. After watching friend Alex Nystedt open the buzzy Boston hot chicken pop-up Hot Chix, he decided to follow suit, workshopping his own version of the dish that would stay crispy long enough to handle a delivery drive. “Portland has this plethora of fried chicken [restaurants], but none of them is solely focused on hot chicken,” he says. “It just works in a ghost-concept delivery setting — People crave it, and they’re not going to make it at home.”

After the chicken steeps in both a saltwater-herb brine and a buttermilk-hot sauce brine, Miriello slices each piece of chicken to create more surface area for the crust. The chicken hits the fryer, and then Miriello dunks each piece in a butter-lard combo, an adhesive for the chicken’s spices: Every bird gets hit with a seasoning blend that includes paprika, onion, garlic powder, brown sugar, and mustard, plus a varying amount of habanero, ghost chile, and cayenne depending on the spice level. “It becomes this oil-based sauce that’s almost like a country salsa macha,” he says.

Customers can order that chicken bone-in or as tenders, with a side of Texas toast, harissa horseradish, and bread-and-butter pickles; however, the chicken appears in a number of different dishes, as well. Miriello sticks a fried chicken thigh on a potato bun with coleslaw, comeback sauce, and bread-and-butter pickles for the restaurant’s sandwich. He chops up tenders in a little gem salad with bacon, red onion, tomato, avocado, and green goddess. A particularly extravagant item smothers fries with tenders, coleslaw, pickles, comeback sauce, and American cheese. Those crinkle-cut fries also come plain as a side; other sides include macaroni salad, potato salad, and feta-scallion biscuits.

Named for Miriello’s two-month-old son, Charlie’s is one of the first of restaurant group Chefstable’s experiments with delivery-only restaurants, alongside salad brand Waldorf & Cobb. Before COVID-19 hit Portland, Miriello was mainly the restaurant group’s catering chef, but now that catered events have basically disappeared and delivery business has skyrocketed, he has switched things up. “We’re still a full-on catering company and we’re accepting parties and business as it comes,” he says, “but to maintain some sort of relevance and keep the business going, we’ve basically created a ghost kitchen out of our commissary.” Chefstable CEO Kurt Huffman says that the company will start to roll out similar businesses down the line. “We’ll still only ever partner with chefs we believe in who have shown a commitment to their craft and whose food reflects their passion and talent. However, given the changing landscape, instead of solely brick and mortars, some of our upcoming concepts are delivery-only to accommodate how people are dining right now,” Huffman says in a statement. “It’s a bit of an incubator but with much less risk than a traditional restaurant.”

Charlie’s Hot Chicken can be ordered on Postmates and UberEats. Current hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Take a look at the Charlie’s Hot Chicken menu below:

Charlie’s Hot Chicken menu [Official]
Charlie’s Hot Chicken [Postmates]
Charlie’s Hot Chicken [UberEats]
Burned Out [E]
An Outdoor Pizza Pop-Up Is Coming to East Burnside Tomorrow [EPDX]
Boston Is Getting More Nashville Hot Chicken [EBOS]

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