Honey, butter, fried, and chicken… all things that I actually do like, so I’m still confused as to why it’s taken me so long to go check out Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago. But, the wait is finally over because this weekend we packed up the kids and made our way into the city for a casual lunch… at 10 in the morning.
This weekend was one of the nicest weekends we’ve seen in Chicago in a while, so we weren’t sure if the patio out back at the restaurant was going to be super crowded if we waited until closer to noon, but also we needed to get out of the house with the kids. We were just praying that they would be able to last all through lunch since they normally eat at like 11:30 and then head down for naps between 12-12:30.
We knew it was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, but we couldn’t spend the beautiful day sitting inside while they screamed at each other.
But is Honey Butter Fried Chicken a good place to bring kids?
I did have my reservations though, but only because I instantly pit Honey Butter Fried Chicken up against Parson’s Chicken and Fish in my head, and the only time I’ve been to Parson’s was on a Thursday night last summer, and I didn’t see many kids… probably because it was 10PM on a Thursday. I have no doubt that Parson’s is probably ok for kids during the day on a weekend, but the patio atmosphere also leads me to believe that a lot of people day drink there during the summer… so it’s a toss up on the kids thing, but only because I have no experience with it. If you’ve been there on a weekend, on the patio, with your kids, let me know how it was.
Anyways, back to Honey Butter Fried Chicken, and their kid-friendly patio.
Going back to my comparison to Parson’s though, the patio at HBFC is a lot smaller and does not have the same feel as Parson’s. Parson’s felt more like a party to me, where as HBFC just felt like an awesome patio to sit and enjoy some fried chicken and have a couple cocktails.
In regards to the kids, there’s a whole sort of section off to the side where most groups sat with kids, us being one of them. There’s some space for the kids to run around a bit without having to worry about knocking into tables or anything, which as nice. There’s a couple picnic tables over in that area which is great if you have a larger party with kids and strollers and stuff. And then along the fence there’s a magnetic board with a ton of magnets for the kids to play around with.
Our kids absolutely loved it. And since the patio itself isn’t that big, we were able to let them run over there and play on the wall by themselves without us having to really worry about where they went. Also we were sitting pretty much right next to that space, so even with our 19-month old running around by himself, it was of no concern.
But don’t worry, we made sure to keep them in the kids area. Even though I have kids, I’m not a fan of when I see other kids just running around a restaurant with no parents, and no regard for other people. So I won’t let my kids be those kids.
So as far as bringing your kids here, I can only speak for about 10am to 1pm on a Sunday, but there should be no concern as to whether they will be welcome. I would say at one point, that side of the patio had at least 10 kids running around and having a good time while the various groups enjoyed the weather and food. It was great.
Now, if you don’t have kids, I know you’re thinking what I thought of the food, so let’s jump into that.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken Food
HBFC is known for their…. well… honey butter fried chicken, which is basically fried chicken with honey butter on it. You can order it as a sandwich or just as a bunch of chicken on a plate with a side of honey butter, it’s up to you. Maybe you don’t want something so boring, they also offer things like “The OG” Fried Chicken Sandwich, which is fried chicken strips, candied jalapeno mayo and crunchy slaw. Or maybe you’d like the “Honey Buffalo Sandwich” which has fried chicken strips, blue cheese, honey buffalo sauce, carrot and celery giardiniera. Or, if you’re there during brunch, the “Fried Chicken & French Toast” looked incredible.
But since this was the first time I’ve been here I wanted to get the true feel for the Honey Butter Fried Chicken, so that’s what I got… as a sandwich… with an egg on it, because you know… brunch.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken Sandwich
Before I dove into the sandwich I wanted to try both the chicken by itself and the honey butter by itself to see how they tasted. Now, I’m sure I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this, since this place is revered by a lot of people in Chicago, but I wasn’t super impressed with the honey butter itself.
I love honey butter, so it wasn’t that, I just felt like there wasn’t enough honey taste to it. Now granted my only other experience with honey butter is at a restaurant called Stoney River up in Deer Park (used to be in Deerfield), but the honey butter that they offer up with their bread for the table is absolutely outstanding. You can really taste the honey coming through the butter, which I felt was lacking a little bit at HBFC.
Now, that’s not to say it wasn’t good, but I think I just had too high of expectations based on what I’ve eaten at Stoney River.
As for the chicken, after I took my first bite (just chicken, no sandwich yet), I actually thought it was a little spicy and, honestly, lacking a little bit in flavor. Again, this place was so hyped up in my mind based on reviews, word of mouth, and honey butter, that I don’t think it would have lived up to expectations no matter how it tasted, but I was a little disappointed.
Again, definitely not bad fried chicken, and I would absolutely go back and recommend you check it out, just wasn’t blown out of my chair by it.
I will say though, after combining all of the individual elements into sandwich form, I did enjoy it a bit more. Whatever spiciness I thought existed in the chicken alone, was balanced out by the honey butter and the bread of the sandwich. It was pretty good, for sure.
Surprisingly, my wife had more leftover chicken on her plate than I did, which is rarely the case, especially when trying something new.
I even found myself picking at the chicken my kids selfishly left on their plate, as we hung out and enjoyed the sunshine and nice weather for a bit.
So yes, the chicken is good, for sure, but I thought that the chicken and waffles I ordered at Parson’s had a bit more flavoring to the fried chicken skin than Honey Butter Fried Chicken did. Although Parson’s was a bit spicier, which is weird, because normally I don’t like spicy, but there was something about the spices at Parson’s that I really enjoyed.
As for what everyone else in the family thought. My wife loved her sandwich, which was the same as mine, just without the egg. And the kids thought the chicken was great… when they wanted to eat it. Of course getting to the restaurant at 10am did nothing for everyone’s appetites, but once they realized we were going to be there for a while, both of them dove in head first and ate pretty much all of what we gave them.
With the chicken out of the way, what about the rest of our food and drinks?
Biscuits, Mac N Cheese and Cocktails
For some reason, that I still don’t understand, my wife was absolutely enamored with the biscuit. It was literally just a biscuit on the plate that you would put the honey butter on. There was no gravy, there was no… whatever, it was just a plain biscuit with butter, but she could not stop raving about it.
I did try it of course, but it did not do the same things to me that it did to her. It was good, for sure, but it just tasted like a biscuit to me.
So I would say most people will enjoy the biscuit, if you like biscuits. I don’t know that you’re going to be blown away with it like my wife… but maybe you have more biscuit experience than me, and these really are better than most… who knows.
But I will tell you what I do know… not everyone is going to like their Mac N Cheese.
I love mac n cheese, most of the time, and I could barely do one bite of the Pimento Mac ‘n Cheese from HBFC. However, I am also not a fan of pimento cheese, which is right there in the name of the dish, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like it anyways, but I had to do it justice and at least give it a try.
That being said, my wife did like it, I can’t remember if the kids ate it (if they did, it wasn’t a lot of it, they are Kraft fiends), and a lot of other people at the restaurant really seemed to enjoy it, so don’t take my word on this one. If you like pimento cheese, give it a try and see what you think. I just couldn’t do it.
And as for our drinks, we each only had one drink, and it was the same drink… Raspberry Rose Smash.
I have no shame in drinking fruity drinks, especially if I’m sitting out in the sun on a patio on a nice warm day. I don’t drink beer and they didn’t have Tito’s vodka, so I figured why not give this cocktail a shot.
It was pretty good, I’d definitely order it again. My only gripe it, and it’s a silly gripe because the drink is extremely refreshing, and fresh, because of this, is the sheer amount of actual fruit hanging out at the bottom of the glass. There are actual raspberries in this drink, which means raspberry seeds as well.
I believe the drink starts with muddled raspberries so the seeds become exposed and you end up sucking them through the straw, which can send them rocketing towards the back of your throat, or finding them stuck in your teeth. The straw also gets clogged a lot with raspberry guts, so just beware of that.
It’s a solid drink though.
So that’s what I’ve got as far as Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago goes. The patio is awesome on a nice warm day. It’s great for kids for lunch/brunch on the weekends. The fried chicken with the honey butter is really good, but a little over-hyped in my opinion. The mac ‘n cheese is ruined by pimento cheese, and the biscuit is a biscuit.
The staff was also incredible. Everyone was super friendly and helpful.
I would definitely say check it out, but don’t go in expecting the best fried chicken in the city. I will say though, I am a little upset now that I missed the Honey Butter Fried Chicken Pizza that they had going on at Piece Pizza for a short time… hopefully they do that again.