A new carryout-only ghost kitchen in Kansas City is looking to redefine what we consider a smash burger.
In January, chef Anthony Olusegun Dedmon got the keys to the former Deco Eats food truck commissary kitchen in Kansas City, Kansas, and launched Cater Kansas City, a catering and meal prep company, soon after.
With business still slow due to the pandemic, Dedmon needed to monetize the kitchen while waiting for things to pick up, so he sat down and wrote up the menu for a new ghost kitchen concept. Chixen Kansas City (pronounced “chick-sen”) offers ground chicken burgers that are seasoned, smashed thin on a flattop and then griddled until crispy and caramelized around the edges – just like a beef burger.
Piled on a bun with plenty of sauce, cheese and toppings, these chicken burgers eat like the real thing, offering all of the flavor and texture you would expect from a traditional beef smash burger.
By keeping chicken his star protein, his burgers should be, in theory, just a bit healthier, although he uses freshly ground dark meat to make his burger patties. “I use dark meat to get all of the fat and flavor I can into my burgers,” says Dedmon. “I looked for chicken burger concepts to study in Chicago, L.A., New York, Florida and Texas, and I couldn’t find anyone doing chicken burgers.”
Dedmon originally learned to cook after a career in the military as a corpsman and dental technician in the U.S. Navy. He grew up in Nigeria, and his parents both worked – one in education and the other in business – so he was taught to be self-sufficient, including feeding himself, at a young age.
As an entrepreneur, Dedmon has successfully started and run numerous small businesses throughout his career, and he applies those same skills in his restaurants, running everything from the cash register to the website and social media for all of his culinary concepts. He has also founded a nonprofit mentoring program, Xseed in Life, with his ultimate goal being to transform inner-city communities by increasing social mobility.
Chixen offers chicken burgers, each featuring different amounts of chicken patties or toppings. Options range from The Mini, a quarter-pound burger with pickles and Chixen sauce (a ketchup- and mayo-based spread) for $5 all the way up to The Heavy, which is loaded with 1½ pounds of chicken (six patties total), romaine lettuce, onion, pickles, beef bacon, American cheese and Chixen sauce for $24.
The two most popular chicken burgers are The Monarch and The Culture, both of which are available in ¼-pound and ½-pound patties. The Monarch is topped with romaine lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, jalapeño, beef bacon, Cheddar and bourbon barbecue sauce, where The Culture comes with housemade citrus slaw, red onion, tomato, Swiss cheese and jerk aïoli.
The menu also includes three salads – the Chixen Chop, Caesar and Southwest – along with Dedmon’s take on a chicken and waffle, which features jerk chili over a cornbread waffle.
Instead of fries, diners can choose from a variety of Zapp’s kettle chips, in addition to a side of citrus slaw or jerk chili along with drinks. Desserts include the Blue Velvet Brownie and Cookie Monster, which features a layer of Oreo cheesecake with a brownie on top.
Everything on the menu can either be ordered online or in person, and then picked up and paid for from Chixen's walk-up window. On busier nights, you can pay extra to have your food delivered. As with all ghost kitchens, there is no dining room – the entire menu is grab-and-go.
“When we first opened Chixen, we had people trying to come into the space thinking we had opened a sit-down restaurant,” says Dedmon. “One customer brought his wife to my place for a special date night and was disappointed to find a walk-up window instead of a full-service spot. I just wanted to find a way to utilize my commissary kitchen until I was ready to grow into my next space.”
The result of that ingenuity is a tasty new burger spot that will make a believer out of anyone who dares to try this new white-meat burger.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to correct that chef Anthony Olusegun Dedmon runs Cater Kansas City, not Chef Kansas City, which was started by chef Christopher Zembrzuski.
Chixen Kansas City, 1407 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas, 816.368.1234, chixenkc.com