Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
It’s time for…Harry’s Chicken Joint!
Well, it’s almost time. Harry’s Chicken Joint (first mentioned here a month ago) will be running delivery-only orders down and across the street to Beveridge Place Pub Thursdays through Saturdays, starting tomorrow. (Patrons there have gotten some samples in recent weeks.) The BPP-delivery-only model will run for approximately a month while the former Meander’s/Jade West space north of Morgan Junction gets a re-do for its new tenant, so there’s no opening date set yet for their sit=down operations.
Harry’s has three items on the BPP-delivery menu for its semi-debut:
They are the Fried Chicken Combo, the Fried Chicken Breast Strips Combo, and the Pulled Pork Po’Boy (as detailed here). Each dish comes with a side of potatoes roasted in duck fat and kale with caramelized garlic. “Caramelized garlic?” asked this author (who does not cook). “What’s that?” Owner Bruce, aka “the guy from Harry’s” (who didn’t want to share his last name or photo, so the attention stays on the food), immediately started listing the ingredients, in the spirit of his “Thou Shalt Share What You Know” philosophy of cooking.
Bruce’s food appreciation came at a young age from his father Harry, the restaurant’s namesake. Bruce says Harry was a “phenomenal chef who liked thinking outside of the box and making something of a meal.” He adds, “In the 1960s, it was unusual to have a man whistling away in the kitchen; most of the other dads were out mowing the lawns.”
Harry’s Chicken Joint is a “culmination of a dream” for Bruce, who says he formerly worked as an advertising executive and surgical coordinator at Harborview, and recently graduated from South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) with degrees in Restaurant Food Service Production and Catering Services.
He’s been developing his recipes for months and recently had a “soft opening” where he tested his recipes on friends and family. He says he’s been extremely pleased with the positive reactions and adds that his goal is to have people say, “This is the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.”
Harry’s clearly isn’t a vegetarian joint (though Bruce notes there are no meat products in the kale dish), but he is playing with the idea of “Smoked Mac ‘n Cheese” at some point in the future.
Asked about the ventilation (which was an issue for many customers in the Meander’s space), Bruce says that they’ve been testing it, and because of what they’re cooking and how they’re cooking it, ventilation hasn’t been an issue; even during their busiest part of the soft opening. Neon signs for the windows have been ordered and the “joint” will accept credit cards. Bruce says he’s developed a great relationship with the Wong family — owners of the building – and that Wah Wong even asked for the pulled pork recipe.
The size of the space isn’t changing. If you were familiar with the Meander’s layout, you’ll be seeing pretty much the same amount of seating. Bruce isn’t interested in being a big restaurant that dumps chicken into a deep-fat fryer and walks away from it. He wants to be the small neighborhood restaurant where you can come and get that “best chicken ever.”
Of course, he’ll give you the recipe for the chicken, but with a 24-hour buttermilk brine, the flouring, the smoking, and taking the time to cook it in a cast-iron skillet, he’s pretty sure you’d rather just have him make it.
To try Harry’s Chicken at Beveridge Place Thursday through Saturday evenings, call (206) 938-9000. Harry’s is located at 6032 California Avenue SW and is online via its Facebook page.