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Ma’ono will be making fried chicken sandwiches like this one when it sets up shop in University Village.

When Rachel's Ginger Beer opens at University Village, a familiar name from West Seattle will be serving up fiery hot fried chicken. 

With Monica Dimas no longer running the food counter inside RGB's fourth location, ginger beer baroness Rachel Marshall looked around for a new partner to oversee the food program. Turns out West Seattle destination restaurant Ma'ono Fried Chicken and Whisky will set up shop with fried chicken sandwiches, chicken fingers, plus various sides and salads.

Marshall had long been a fan of chef-owner Mark Fuller's sunny, smart menu at Ma'ono, not to mention his new Chinese-American bar, New Luck Toy. "I didn't have a personal relationship at all," she says. But this is a small town: It just so happens that Fuller's business partner at New Luck Toy, Patric Gabre-Kidan, oversees the buildout on Marshall's stores.

RGB's owner gave Fuller carte blanche on a menu. Given his skills with crispy fried bird—at Ma'ono, but also in General Tso form at New Luck Toy—it's no surprise Fuller came back with fried chicken. But the version planned for RGB, he says, will have a Nashville-style twist. Breasts and tenders will get the same Ma'ono treatment (brining, seasoning, frying, etc.). Request the mild version and that chicken receives a quick brush of melted lard, containing a bit more spice. Amp things up to medium, hot, or extra-hot levels and the kitchen will also deliver a final shake of still more spice; the particular blend varies based on how fiery you ordered your chicken. Fuller promises the naked chicken will be gentle enough for U Village's ample kid population; the extra-hot version, he says, "will bring the pain."

In Nashville, this preparation (especially the tearjerking spice levels) is known as "hot chicken." The chef isn't yet certain whether he'll use this label, since his ties to Tennessee don't extend beyond an abiding respect for its chicken. Whatever you call it, I'll be eating it.

Chicken sandwiches will come on King's Hawaiian sweet buns with daikon pickles and a mess of iceberg lettuce (Ma'ono's Instagram contains tempting evidence of sandwich R&D). The rest of Ma'ono's RGB menu includes a few salads, plus sides like potato mac salad and the restaurant's much-loved mac n'kimcheese. The working dessert menu lists RGB floats and banana pudding.

Just like the Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches setup at RGB's 12th Avenue location, Ma'ono will serve food from a counter in the corner (apparently fried chicken is a natural fit with RGB's lineup of ginger beer and cocktails thereof). Both Fuller and Marshall anticipate lots of takeout orders, but the new U Village location opens June 1—just in time to appreciate its patio.

 

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