By Tegan Burkhard | Photography by Emily Brashier
At last year’s Open Streets OKC event in April, an in-the-works business handed out delicious wing samplings as visitors walked toward Cuppies and Joe. Eight months later, on December 29, Chick N’ Beer opened its doors to those who had craved the wings since their first taste that spring.
Today, step inside Chick N’ Beer, and notice the warm, welcoming feel of this renovated house on NW 23rd St. Compared to Guernsey Park, its sister restaurant down the street, Chick N’ Beer attracts a more consistent customer base with its casual feel.
After opening Guernsey Park and Covell Park in Edmond, owner Truong Le and his brother-in-law, Alex Steele, devised a plan for a restaurant with the same high quality food, but this time in a completely different environment. While many guests stop by Guernsey Park and Covell Park on a date night or special occasion, Le and his business partners hope to draw in another type of crowd with the more easygoing atmosphere at Chick N’ Beer.
“We wanted that contrast, because obviously Guernsey Park is right behind us,” Le says. “We didn’t want to have to battle against ourselves in a sense.”
While Guernsey Park guests typically choose to dress up and plan ahead, Le welcomes Chick N’ Beer customers to come as they are, whenever they feel a hankering for delicious, unique wings and beer. In fact, at Chick N’ Beer, Le’s typical dress code involves a t-shirt, styled sweats and tennis shoes.
At Chick N’ Beer, come with a larger group of friends, or bring your significant other along for an intimate, yet relaxed date. Sit at the wooden tables and booths indoors, or gather near the bar for an up-close view of a big-screen TV. Come May, dine outdoors on the enclosed wooden patio, and catch the latest basketball game on the projection screen without fear of interruptions from unpredictable Oklahoma weather elements like rain.
Although the atmosphere is more cozy, compared to its sister concepts, the Chick N’ Beer menu items give a nod to the cuisine found at Guernsey Park and Covell Park. Find trademark Asian American fusion favorites like five spice chicken and waffles on the menu at Guernsey Park or shrimp pasta at Covell Park. At Chick N’ Beer, the house speciality is boneless and bone-in chicken wings, but the cooking style and flavor profiles are much in line with dishes found at its more upscale counterparts.
As a first-generation American with Vietnamese heritage, Le says he grew up eating traditional Asian cuisine, as well as Southern classics like pork chops, steak and potatoes. With the success of the Guernsey Park and Covell Park menus, Le wasted no time in enlisting executive chef Paul Langer from Guernsey Park to create the full list of entrees and appetizers for Chick N’ Beer.
“We just thought it made sense to marry the two things together because it just really represents who we are,” Le says. “I’m Asian American, so we just put a twist on all traditional Southern cuisines and try to put our own flavors to it, use our own spices, our own herbs, and people really took to that.”
For a twist on traditional wings, choose from among the spicy Gochujang sauce or the mild yellow curry flavor with hints of coconut, or stick to the standout barbecue honey red curry blend of tasty wings. Whether opting into an order of lightly breaded boneless wings or double-fried, bone-in wingettes cooked in potato starch, bite into a plate of additive and hormone-free, free range wings sourced from Crystal Lake Farms in Arkansas.
“As simple as the chicken is, it’s still more complex in a sense,” Le says.
With its 16-beer strong tap offerings, Chick N’ Beer aims to highlight local businesses, as well. Each tap comes from an Oklahoma brewery, with a handful of seasonal beers that rotate and some regular staples that pair well with the variety of wings sauces available. Order Mama’s Sweet & Salty wings, and sip on an Anthem Arjuna, or cool off from a bite of Mango Thai Chili with a glass of Iron Monk Milk Stout. Keeping in line with its emphasis on supporting local businesses, once all wings are polished off, Chick N’ Beer guests can complete the meal with ice cream secured from Roxy’s Ice Cream Social.
For those unsure of where to start with the sauces on hand, guests can simply turn to their servers to guide them through the process. Le says waiters and waitresses at Chick N’ Beer are trained to help hone in each person’s flavor preferences through a series of basic questions, such as heat tolerance and preferences at local wing chains.
Besides its not-so-basic wings and beer model, Chick N’ Beer also stands out with its sampling of kimchi, red cabbage, daikon and pickled cucumber pickles, kimchi beef sliders and the hot kimchi fries topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, kimchi and spicy ranch dressing. One-of-a-kind cocktails abound here, too, like the Chickalada, composed of Sriracha, soy sauce, lime and Anthem Golden One beer.
Whether ordering another round from the bar window or catching the big game inside, Le says guests love the overall hangout vibes. The restaurant’s patio takes Le back to the old days of a backyard barbecue, while the indoor house structure creates a comfortable environment. No matter where guests sit while munching on a boat of Asian American wings, Chick N’ Beer encourages them to take their time and stay a while.
“When I travel, I like to go to hole-in-the-wall spots or where the locals hang out,” Le says. “Usually it gives that non-commercial feel to it, and that’s what we want.”
How to find them
Chick N’ Beer
715 NW 23rd St., OKC