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The Budlong--now THIS is Nashville Hot!

The Budlong--now THIS is Nashville Hot!
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  • The Budlong--now THIS is Nashville Hot!

    Post #1 - May 19th, 2016, 7:17 am
    Post #1 - May 19th, 2016, 7:17 am Post #1 - May 19th, 2016, 7:17 am
    Budlong sign.jpg


    After trying out various renditions of Nashville Hot Chicken around town, I'd pretty much given up on the possibility that anyone would get it close, let alone right. Ladies and gentlemen: we have a winner!

    Stopped in yesterday with Laikom whose pics will almost certainly be an improvement over mine, but wanted to share the wealth.

    Ordered 2 small (thigh/leg) plates--medium and hot. Medium was nicely spicy for those who don't want or can't stomach the full eye watering, lip tingling, endorphin building habanero heat of the Hot version. But the spice is just a component--it's not the end of the story. This is perfectly fried chicken. Where the meat is tender in every nook and cranny and the skin has that perfect, meaty, full crunch--but still tastes every bit like the bird. And the seasoning is NOT a sloppy uncooked slurry (ugh, Roost)--it's infused and part of the crust.

    As for the sides--all were good--but don't miss the greens--definitely my favorite of the three veg dishes. And the biscuit was perfectly executed as well. Though you don't really need it when there are spicy chickeny slices of cheap white bread to mop up after you're done.

    We went at about 1:30 and there was a steady stream of customers but no wait and plenty of seating. No doubt that Jared and Jon Z. have a good thing here. Expect to see a lot more of them!

    budlong medium and hot.jpg


    budlong medium plate.JPG


    2928 N Broadway St
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (312) 771-0401
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #2 - May 19th, 2016, 10:17 am
    Post #2 - May 19th, 2016, 10:17 am Post #2 - May 19th, 2016, 10:17 am
    Glad to hear this; I tried to stop by opening night, but arrived too late and they had shut down because of running out of food. Plan to try to pop in for lunch at some point this weekend. Really encouraged to hear the positive feedback; I too am a big fan of hot chicken from my trips to Nashville and have yet to find a comparable place in Chicago, but sounds like this might be the spot!
    Twitter: @Goof_2
  • Post #3 - May 19th, 2016, 11:28 am
    Post #3 - May 19th, 2016, 11:28 am Post #3 - May 19th, 2016, 11:28 am
    Ever since I tried Jared's hot chicken at a pit-to-plate dinner, I've been dying for the Budlong to open. Sucks that Bunny closed before I ever got to try it, but I'm not complaining about having access to gnarly chicken before the Lincoln Square location opens. Definitely going to hit it up this weekend.
  • Post #4 - May 19th, 2016, 1:04 pm
    Post #4 - May 19th, 2016, 1:04 pm Post #4 - May 19th, 2016, 1:04 pm
    After a seriously disappointing chicken dinner at parson's (dense breading, gummy underneath, way too much onion powder and little else flavoring it), Budlong was an serious breath of fresh air!

    It shouldn't be a surprise that it is seriously legit considering Jared has been working on the recipe for at least a year with multiple trips down to Nashville to sample the distant competition. I think it is safe to say this was the best chicken I've had in Chicago, and I'm sure it puts the Nashville stuff to the test. The meat just perfectly seasoned, not too salty, and seriously juicy. I ordered it hot, and it was serious, though not painful (if you can handle, say thai spicy). It's a slower burn, that builds as you eat it. The first half was hot enough, and the 2nd half left my nose running and my eyes watering a little bit. The sides, being lightly seasoned, were a great rest stop before resuming.

    Can't wait for my next visit, or better yet can't wait for them to open up on western near me!
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #5 - May 23rd, 2016, 8:48 am
    Post #5 - May 23rd, 2016, 8:48 am Post #5 - May 23rd, 2016, 8:48 am
    Hit up Budlong on Friday night and our group of five bought out all of their remaining chicken. I had a four-piece dark with potato salad and a biscuit and everything was exceptional. I planned to have leftovers but it was too good to stop. The chicken skin was so crispy and heavily seasoned and the meat was perfectly juicy. I could have done with more spice in the medium, but it's understandable that they don't want to brutalize customers who see "medium" and assume that it won't be so bad. Guess I will have to go extra hot next time. Regardless, Budlong is already in my top 3 for chicken in the city.

    Service was great and the chef (Joe?) came out to make sure that we were enjoying our food and to talk to us about their opening.

    Just a note for those who were looking to try them: the spudnuts have been permanently 86ed at the Lakeview location because they needed more fryer space for chicken. Not sure if that will apply to the Lincoln Square (can we still call it the original?) location when they finally open.
  • Post #6 - May 23rd, 2016, 9:01 am
    Post #6 - May 23rd, 2016, 9:01 am Post #6 - May 23rd, 2016, 9:01 am
    Yet another restaurant that is closed on my day off :(:(
  • Post #7 - May 23rd, 2016, 10:58 am
    Post #7 - May 23rd, 2016, 10:58 am Post #7 - May 23rd, 2016, 10:58 am
    Rapid expansion:

    www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160517/edgewa ... ue-brewpub
  • Post #8 - May 23rd, 2016, 12:07 pm
    Post #8 - May 23rd, 2016, 12:07 pm Post #8 - May 23rd, 2016, 12:07 pm
    This will be like time travel. Two satellite locations opened before the original.
  • Post #9 - May 23rd, 2016, 11:50 pm
    Post #9 - May 23rd, 2016, 11:50 pm Post #9 - May 23rd, 2016, 11:50 pm
    Depressed that Bunny left us but that place never made sense. (Toast program! Loved it.) Pretty terrific that a worthy spot succeeded it, even keeping the creepy signage. How often does that happen? Bad Wolf/Loba is sort off the same but more of a continuation. Anyway, they are nailing the Nashville hot and I'm not sure there's a more pleasant staff around town. The dark, glassy, lacquered skin is as good as any in Nashvegas. I wonder whether the whole genre is quite as worthy as currently thought but that's a different issue. Greens are tops too. Not sure about the biscuit. Delicious and decadent but my specimen had an almost Napoleon-like layered quality. Like a frozen Pillsbury biscuit turned up to 11. I like some lumps in my biscuits. Otherwise all good.
  • Post #10 - May 24th, 2016, 7:47 pm
    Post #10 - May 24th, 2016, 7:47 pm Post #10 - May 24th, 2016, 7:47 pm
    So when SteveZ asked if I wanted to join him for lunch today I jumped at the chance, add me to the list of deeply impressed diners. I had the Nashville spicy, small leg thigh portion, greens and the biscuit, John Z sent us the potato salad and black eyed peas sides which we split. I haven't had Nashville hot before so I don't really have a comparison, but this was magnificent chicken, beautiful crispy crust, moist chicken and a nice slow heat that didn't overwhelm the taste of the chicken and crust. I was a little nervous about getting the spicy, but beyond a runny nose I was fine with the spice level although in fairness I can eat hot. The greens were perfect, not overcooked with a wonderful vinegar flavor, the black eyed peas were served as a cold salad which surprised me, but I actually loved the flavor, I'd get these again in a heartbeat. The potato salad and the biscuits were okay, but not at the level of the other sides. We also tried the bourbon, nilla wafer shake which was so good, but so rich I went home and took a nap. John said since they can't serve alcohol they boiled it out of the bourbon so you have the intensified taste left. The vanilla wafers came from spending the night at his grandparents when he was little, in the morning before his grandmother got up his grandfather would let him eat all the vanilla he could put in a glass and add milk, so this is his version of milk and cookies.

    I'm really happy to see Jarad and John Z open a place this good near me and the neighborhood seems to be embracing it, we went after the lunch rush and there were a steady stream of customers coming in and out, even a few LTHer's (hi Jefe). The space is small, just counters with enough room for your tray on either side of the room, maybe 20 people, 10 on each side could squeeze in there, but it's not a place to sit and linger if it's busy.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #11 - May 26th, 2016, 7:02 am
    Post #11 - May 26th, 2016, 7:02 am Post #11 - May 26th, 2016, 7:02 am
    I'll gladly add to the chorus of praise!

    Image

    As good as (if not) the best artisanal, thick breading-clad bird in the game. The two stage batter/ breading process yields a spectrum of crisp and crunch, burnished just well-done enough, and assertively spiced (base seasoning, pre-anointment). I think we all know there's a perfectionist at the helm of these fryers, it shows in the product.

    JeffB wrote:I wonder whether the whole genre is quite as worthy as currently thought but that's a different issue.

    This though. I've been only half paying attention to the NHC fad. I've never had the stuff on its native turf. And the few I've sampled in town were unexceptional. These guys clearly did their homework and also seem confident that their product is the best in show (it is). But I'm not convinced this technique is worth the current mania, at least to my tastes. Give me vinegar-based delivery for capsicum on my fried chicken any day. The acid is essential to cut the richness. I know the masterful hand of this chef is able to deliver deep fried chicken basted in lard that somehow comes across as not heavy on the tongue, but two pieces in and I was teetering on the edge of destruction (and I can smash some chicken, though its worth mentioning that the parts we were served were enormous + we sampled every side). That old lily-gild sometimes pushes things over the top. Oh, and medium hot was nowhere near close to my threshold. I'll go full on next time.

    All said, sans fat double-down treatment, add hot sauce, this very well could be my favorite fried chicken.

    mbh wrote:...the black eyed peas were served as a cold salad which surprised me, but I actually loved the flavor, I'd get these again in a heartbeat.

    Also, did somebody say sleeper! The Texas caviar style peas were my favorite of the sides. As perfectly dressed a bean salad as I've ever had. I could eat these everyday!
  • Post #12 - May 26th, 2016, 9:28 am
    Post #12 - May 26th, 2016, 9:28 am Post #12 - May 26th, 2016, 9:28 am
    Try the extra hot next time - the addictive appeal of this style of chicken is in the way the heat creeps up on you, makes your whole body warm and tingly, and even hurts a little, then gradually dissipates. You then crave the initial rush again. It's cathartic.
    Logan: Come on, everybody, wang chung tonight! What? Everybody, wang chung tonight! Wang chung, or I'll kick your ass!
  • Post #13 - May 28th, 2016, 12:09 pm
    Post #13 - May 28th, 2016, 12:09 pm Post #13 - May 28th, 2016, 12:09 pm
    This weekend, we're running a special:
    Nashville Hot softshell crab sandwich: brioche bun, smoked paprika aioli, vinegar slaw, bread and butter pickles.
    Image
    https://www.facebook.com/thebudlong/
    I love comfortable food, and comfortable restaurants.
    http://www.bbqsupply.com
    http://thebudlong.com
    http://denveraf.com
  • Post #14 - May 29th, 2016, 12:19 pm
    Post #14 - May 29th, 2016, 12:19 pm Post #14 - May 29th, 2016, 12:19 pm
    I went last weekend and had the two-piece white, extra hot. The chicken was flavorful and juicy. I would say the breast portion was medium spicy--I was kind of disappointed. But then I ate the wing, and it was indeed hot. I guess the seasoning was unevenly applied.

    I was disappointed that they left off one of my two sides--I got takeout and didn't notice the missing potato salad until I got home. I did enjoy the collard greens, though. I'll chalk the error up to the recent opening.
  • Post #15 - May 31st, 2016, 12:09 pm
    Post #15 - May 31st, 2016, 12:09 pm Post #15 - May 31st, 2016, 12:09 pm
    I went last weekend as well. As noted earlier, it is very good fried chicken which would suit my palate even better with a vinegary hot sauce for dipping (vs coating so as to not soften the crust).

    I look forward to the Devon opening as it is a short walk from my house. Medium quarter dark to go, with a side of Louisiana Hot Sauce from home, will be my future order.
  • Post #16 - May 31st, 2016, 2:46 pm
    Post #16 - May 31st, 2016, 2:46 pm Post #16 - May 31st, 2016, 2:46 pm
    Try the extra hot next time - the addictive appeal of this style of chicken is in the way the heat creeps up on you, makes your whole body warm and tingly, and even hurts a little, then gradually dissipates. You then crave the initial rush again. It's cathartic.


    To get a feel for what real extra hot Nashville hot chicken is, this short clip of Sean Brock and friend getting their asses totally kicked by Prince's will be instructive:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9ztecYHFwU

    And remember to put the toilet paper in the freezer before you go!
  • Post #17 - June 8th, 2016, 10:10 am
    Post #17 - June 8th, 2016, 10:10 am Post #17 - June 8th, 2016, 10:10 am
    Just weeks after opening its first location in Lakeview, the team behind Budlong Hot Chicken is already at work planning a second location.
    Budlong will take over the former Ja' Grill space at 1008 W. Armitage Ave., which has sat vacant since the Jamaican restaurant moved to Hyde Park 2014.

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2016060 ... ncoln-park
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #18 - June 8th, 2016, 10:48 am
    Post #18 - June 8th, 2016, 10:48 am Post #18 - June 8th, 2016, 10:48 am
    I had another round of Nashville Hot Chicken from Budlong last night.It was every bit as good as my first taste and, I'm happy to report, the biscuit was markedly improved over the one I had on my first visit. I assume they did some work on the recipe between my two visits, because now it comes very close to the biscuits that Kay Bee herself baked for me during Jared's testing phase.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #19 - June 8th, 2016, 11:34 am
    Post #19 - June 8th, 2016, 11:34 am Post #19 - June 8th, 2016, 11:34 am
    I'm happy to report, the biscuit was markedly improved over the one I had on my first visit. I assume they did some work on the recipe between my two visits, because now it comes very close to the biscuits that Kay Bee herself baked for me during Jared's testing phase.


    Glad you noticed... Biscuit baking is a tricky task, and we've spent the first couple weeks of our operation training and perfecting a couple of the cooks on their biscuit technique. Freezing the butter, folding the dough - but not too much - we've got it down, and have a few cooks on staff that have really improved their biscuit game..
    I love comfortable food, and comfortable restaurants.
    http://www.bbqsupply.com
    http://thebudlong.com
    http://denveraf.com
  • Post #20 - June 8th, 2016, 12:16 pm
    Post #20 - June 8th, 2016, 12:16 pm Post #20 - June 8th, 2016, 12:16 pm
    that was quick: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2016060 ... aybe-pizza
  • Post #21 - June 8th, 2016, 12:28 pm
    Post #21 - June 8th, 2016, 12:28 pm Post #21 - June 8th, 2016, 12:28 pm
    Chicago Hokie wrote:that was quick: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2016060 ... aybe-pizza

    Nashville-style hot chicken has been a hot menu item in Chicago lately — but it's no longer coming to Devon Avenue's new brew pub.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #22 - June 8th, 2016, 1:20 pm
    Post #22 - June 8th, 2016, 1:20 pm Post #22 - June 8th, 2016, 1:20 pm
    Rick T. wrote:
    Try the extra hot next time - the addictive appeal of this style of chicken is in the way the heat creeps up on you, makes your whole body warm and tingly, and even hurts a little, then gradually dissipates. You then crave the initial rush again. It's cathartic.


    To get a feel for what real extra hot Nashville hot chicken is, this short clip of Sean Brock and friend getting their asses totally kicked by Prince's will be instructive:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9ztecYHFwU

    And remember to put the toilet paper in the freezer before you go!


    I've been to Prince's, and their Nashville hot chicken is no joke. I'm not even entirely sure they served me the extra hot. I ordered it, and the woman behind the counter asked me if I had it before. I said "no," but that I'm fine with ultra hot food. If what I got was just the regular hot, I can't imagine how the extra hot is. There were no habeneros or any of the superhots in it, but there was just so much of that lard-cayenne (or whatever pepper it is exactly) mixture coated on the chicken, that the heat just built and built and built to a blisteringly hot climax. It's probably the hottest indigenous (US) American food I've had minus capsaicin extract enhanced wings.
  • Post #23 - June 8th, 2016, 2:47 pm
    Post #23 - June 8th, 2016, 2:47 pm Post #23 - June 8th, 2016, 2:47 pm
    Chicago Hokie wrote:that was quick: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2016060 ... aybe-pizza

    Nashville-style hot chicken has been a hot menu item in Chicago lately — but it's no longer coming to Devon Avenue's new brew pub.


    We decided to do pizza in a wood-fired oven... Neapolitan style, probably not to the extent of getting VPN certified - possibly making pies slightly larger than allowed by VPN standards - but most other criteria (ie san marzanos, fresh mozz, 00 flour, etc)... I will have a fryer and make some fried chicken - maybe as a special (every Friday night) or something... we wanted a more versatile menu to pair with the beer..
    I love comfortable food, and comfortable restaurants.
    http://www.bbqsupply.com
    http://thebudlong.com
    http://denveraf.com
  • Post #24 - June 13th, 2016, 8:44 pm
    Post #24 - June 13th, 2016, 8:44 pm Post #24 - June 13th, 2016, 8:44 pm
    A little late posting this but last weekend I made it in to the Budlong. I had never tried Nashville hot chicken so I decided to do a 1/2 chicken - half of that being the extra hot, and half being medium. I really liked the medium quite a bit - great crust, juicy, nicely seasoned. The hot was pretty damn hot (and yet Jon mentioned not as hot as the hottest in Nashville). I love really hot, spicy food, but I suppose I'm more of a traditionalist when it comes to fried chicken. Don't get me wrong - it was really good . . . I just preferred the medium. And then there was my dining companion who enjoyed the medium but found it slightly too spicy for his liking. There's no accounting for all of our different tastebuds. Regardless, the chicken is terrific and you just need to find the seasoning for you.

    As for sides, I thought the biscuit was terrific . . . a little flaky, very tender and very delicious. Jon was kind enough to let us sample the potato salad, collard greens and black eyed peas in addition to the elotes I ordered. My two favorites were the potato salad (great flavors and texture) and the black eyed peas (same). Collard greens and elotes were solid too.

    Overall, a very solid meal . . . and when I'm not making my own fried chicken and biscuits (I did last night), I'll be happily returning to the Budlong (though really hoping for the Lincoln Square location to open up asap).
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #25 - June 16th, 2016, 1:30 pm
    Post #25 - June 16th, 2016, 1:30 pm Post #25 - June 16th, 2016, 1:30 pm
    And then there was my dining companion who enjoyed the medium but found it slightly too spicy for his liking. There's no accounting for all of our different tastebuds.

    Couldn't have said it any better, as a former Nashville resident I'd say the medium at the Budlong was a notch below a traditional Prince's medium. Even that will be too spicy for some, but below expectations for others. Personally I'll go one notch higher next time.

    The chicken itself, as mentioned by others, is very very good. This type of crust is my platonic ideal for fried chicken, the meat was moist and well seasoned. I'd had the biscuit at one of Jared's pit-to-plate meals and actually was underwhelmed. The version I had at The Budlong was a significant improvement. Layered and well textured (not a brick but with some heft). All in all a great first meal, and I'm going to be in big trouble when the Western location opens.
  • Post #26 - June 28th, 2016, 4:18 pm
    Post #26 - June 28th, 2016, 4:18 pm Post #26 - June 28th, 2016, 4:18 pm
    Since I had the day off I decided to make the hour long trip via the L plus a short walk to get some Nashville Hot fried chicken. As I walked in there were a couple of people waiting for their orders but I was able to walk right up and place my well rehearsed order since I knew exactly what I wanted. Except this is what I heard, "I'm sorry, we're all out of fried chicken but we do have the sandwich". Wait, what? All you do...it's your one job...is to sell fried chicken. "I'm sorry sir, would you like a sandwich"? No, not really but since I spent an hour plus getting here, I really don't have a choice. Nor did the twenty or so other people that ordered while I was there. It was 1:30. They stay open until 9. The sandwich was good but what I wanted was fried chicken. I ordered the biscuit and elote as sides. The biscuit mainly to see what the fuss was all about seeing as how I had bread in the form of a bun. Both sides were good but they would gone better with some fried chicken. :x :evil:
  • Post #27 - June 28th, 2016, 6:11 pm
    Post #27 - June 28th, 2016, 6:11 pm Post #27 - June 28th, 2016, 6:11 pm
    hoppy2468 - sorry to hear about your inaugural trip out.. Our supplier didn't drop birds in time for us to dry brine, slurry, and batter them for lunch service. We made the tough choice to not shortcut our system and serve a less-than-our-standard bird at lunch... we did have some butterfly breasts in stock early AM, so we started the day with only sandwiches and the 5 sides. We got back on our normal system by about 4pm. Stop by again, I'll buy you lunch. Ask for Jon or Jared.

    Sincerely,
    Jared Leonard, owner, The budlong
    I love comfortable food, and comfortable restaurants.
    http://www.bbqsupply.com
    http://thebudlong.com
    http://denveraf.com
  • Post #28 - June 28th, 2016, 6:27 pm
    Post #28 - June 28th, 2016, 6:27 pm Post #28 - June 28th, 2016, 6:27 pm
    Stop by again, I'll buy you lunch. Ask for Jon or Jared.


    hoppy2468: . . .but CALL FIRST. Just sayin'. :wink:
  • Post #29 - June 28th, 2016, 6:35 pm
    Post #29 - June 28th, 2016, 6:35 pm Post #29 - June 28th, 2016, 6:35 pm
    but CALL FIRST. Just sayin'. :wink:


    no need... this has never happened before - shouldn't happen again. We've had limited cooler space up until this week - and had to order fresh birds several times/week.. we built a walk in so this shouldn't be an issue again... Just show up, we'll have chicken :)
    I love comfortable food, and comfortable restaurants.
    http://www.bbqsupply.com
    http://thebudlong.com
    http://denveraf.com
  • Post #30 - June 29th, 2016, 8:12 am
    Post #30 - June 29th, 2016, 8:12 am Post #30 - June 29th, 2016, 8:12 am
    rubbbqco wrote:hoppy2468 - sorry to hear about your inaugural trip out.. Our supplier didn't drop birds in time for us to dry brine, slurry, and batter them for lunch service. We made the tough choice to not shortcut our system and serve a less-than-our-standard bird at lunch... we did have some butterfly breasts in stock early AM, so we started the day with only sandwiches and the 5 sides. We got back on our normal system by about 4pm. Stop by again, I'll buy you lunch. Ask for Jon or Jared.

    Sincerely,
    Jared Leonard, owner, The budlong


    I suspect that as much as not having any chicken to serve was a problem, customer relations was a bigger issue. If customers had been told that the supplier was X hours late and that it took Y hours to prep the chicken before it could even be cooked that would have been less a "slap in the face" than just saying "we're out". Adding that the chicken would be back in a few hours would have been icing on the cake.

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