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Montana Long Table: Artisanal Picnic

Chefs Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

Chicago, IL

June 16, 2018

Chef Christine Cikowski

At Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Chef Christine Cikowski serves a menu mindful of just how comforting food can be, especially when made with high-quality ingredients from local farmers and enhanced ever so subtly with a chef’s own touches. Opening the restaurant in Fall 2013 served as the culmination of several elements, including putting her and Co-Chef/Managing Partner Josh Kulp’s ideas into a brick-and-mortar location and continuing the community they built with a highly successful underground Chicago supper club.

Kulp and Cikowski serve homey comfort food made right—from the slightly spicy creamed corn to the signature condiment of whipped butter with Wisconsin honey. The restaurant’s delectable fried chicken is locally sourced, cage-free and self-brined and seasoned and also fried in non-GMO, trans-fat-free oil.

Montana Long Table: Artisanal Picnic

Cikowski worked in restaurants as a teen. But she didn’t follow her passion for cooking until she was 27, enrolling in Kendall College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. Cikowski worked at the respected Blackbird in Chicago after graduating, and her experience at the award-wining restaurant grafted onto her personal chef philosophies.

When she’s not greeting customers at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Cikowski can be found writing for her website, www.achefwhowrites.com, or planning her next getaway. “I travel as much as I can,” she says, “because it always gives me great perspective and a touchstone to nature and to life in the larger world.”

Our hands-down favorite this past year came from Avondale’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken. At the center is that wondrous fried chicken—boneless, skin-on thigh and breast (whole drumsticks too), double-battered to a loud crunch, dusted with smoked paprika and reminiscent of Spanish chorizo.

—Chicago Tribune

Chef Joshua Kulp

In Fall 2013, after eight years of running a highly successful underground Chicago supper club, Chef Josh Kulp and Co-Chef/Managing Partner Christine Cikowski launched their first brick-and-mortar concept, Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Kulp and Cikowski serve homey comfort food made right—from the slightly spicy creamed corn made in-house to the signature condiment of whipped butter with Wisconsin honey. “I describe it as the kind of food people really want to eat, but done well in a thoughtful way so everything is accessible,” Kulp explains. The restaurant’s delectable fried chicken is locally sourced, cage-free and self-brined and seasoned and also fried in non-GMO, trans-fat-free oil.

Montana Long Table: Artisanal Picnic

Before discovering his kitchen calling, Kulp studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a master’s degree. After graduating, he moved to teach fifth grade—and found himself spending all his spare time in the kitchen and dining out. Kulp moved back to Madison and cooked at Restaurant Magnus and then for the governor’s mansion. He moved to Chicago in 2004 to attend the Kendall College of Culinary Arts. In his spare time, Kulp loves to write and to watch the Chicago Cubs. “I love the Cubs almost as much as I love my grandmother,” he says. “My life goal is to sell fried chicken sandwiches at Wrigley.”

Their addictive chicken is complimented by some of the best vegetable side dishes in the city, and the crowds at this Avondale spot helmed by Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp show no sign of slowing down.

—Huffington Post, Best New Chicago Restaurants of 2013