There's a new chicken sandwich in town.
Chicken Out, the newest concept from Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive-In owner Mike Johnson, is now open in the Delmar Loop. The restaurant, which Johnson has labelled as "faster-casual," specializes in chicken sandwiches but also features chicken fingers, fries and shakes.
Johnson says he's always wanted to open a chicken joint – Hi-Pointe Drive-In was initially slated to be a chicken restaurant – but the dream didn't become a reality until the owner of the building where Piccione Pastry was previously located reached out earlier this year. The space was adjacent to the former location of a Church's Chicken that Johnson always loved, so it seemed meant to be.
The "faster-casual" label comes from an idea that Johnson had long before COVID-19 had even struck, and the name itself was inspired by two of his favorite fast food chains: Chik Fil A and In N Out.
"I just felt that was the way dining was going, at least the stuff I wanna do," he says. "It's really simple. It's got a way smaller menu than all of our other places."
The menu is mainly made up of ways to enjoy Chicken's Out's pressure-fried chicken. The eponymous Chicken Out, also available in a spicy version, features fried chicken on a potato bun topped with pickles and Duke's mayonnaise (the spicy take is topped with Crystal hot sauce mayo). For those looking for something a little more out of the box, try the Mo Parm Mo Foul (chicken Parmesan with marinara sauce and arugula served on cheesy garlic bread) or The Chickrib (Sugarfire smoked chicken with sweet barbecue sauce, pickles and onions served on an Italian hoagie roll). All sandwiches are available with grilled chicken as well.
Chicken Out even has an option for those who don't eat meat (or are just observing meatless Monday). The Faux Hawk is made with Hungry Planet plant-based "chicken," iceberg lettuce, pickle and mayo served on a potato bun. Fries can also be ordered vegetarian; the regular crinkle-cut potatoes are seasoned with chicken salt, a popular fry topping in Australia made with dehydrated chicken.
"It's amazing, and no one has it here," Johnson says.
Beer, wine and seasonal shakes will be available on a rotating basis at the restaurant, but vanilla, chocolate and strawberry shakes are available in addition to fountain drinks and Dubuque Iced Tea. Two desserts from Sugarfire Pies – quarter-pound chocolate chip cookies and cherry hand pies – will be on deck for dessert.
Although Chicken Out just opened, Johnson hopes that he can expand to multiple locations like he has done with Sugarfire and Hi-Pointe, especially now that partner Ben Hillman, who has worked for other popular chains like Mod Pizza, has come on board.
"I hope it's something we can turn into another multi-unit concept," Johnson says. "That's the plan."
Chicken Out, 6197 Delmar Blvd., Delmar Loop, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.3841010, chickenoutchicken.com