Spike Mendelsohn, chef, The Chickery, Washington, D.C.; Toronto; Palo Alto, Calif.
The Chickery, a new “better chicken” concept by renowned restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn, follows the fast-casual gospel of “doing one thing and doing it well.” But that doesn’t mean there’s no room to do that thing a little differently for plant-preferring guests. “We’re a chicken place that focuses primarily on sandwiches,” Mendelsohn says. “We wanted to showcase a vegetarian option that had similar appeal. Mendelsohn has long been a member of the cult of cauli: “Cauliflower takes well to roasting and sauce and has quite a great texture when lightly fried in batter … what’s not to like?” Well, when you put it that way, and top it with a fluffy shred of lettuce, a shake of hot sauce and a good amount of buttermilk ranch dressing, who needs chicken? As The Chickery’s off-premise sales coordinator Julia Lindley points out, “We didn’t want anyone to think they were just eating cauliflower, but rather an exciting sandwich that makes them forget it’s not chicken.”