Other restaurants on Greenwood Avenue are still going strong around 8pm, but Chicken Supply is dark, the staff heading out to put kids to bed or visit friends’ bars.
In the pocket-size space once home to Opus and Co., owners Paolo Campbell and Donnie Adams and their staff somehow manage to prep nearly 200 pounds of chicken each day. By 7:30, pre-order customers have often picked up the final few thighs and drumsticks—and tomorrow’s chicken is laid into brine and the cycle begins anew.
Seattle already has buckets, platters, and chains of tasty fried chicken. Into that fray waded two friends who met at culinary school and wanted to make a Filipino-style version, marinated in citrus and spices. The gluten-free dredge includes so many kinds of flour (tapioca, potato, sweet rice, cornstarch) that Campbell has to stop and double check his math.
All this labor yields chicken with an ethereal crackle and tenderness in endless reserves. It’s hang a U-turn chicken. Pre-order for dinner as soon as you wake up chicken.
The Chicken Supply sells its meat by the piece, so you can lean into drums or wings, or go easy with just a single thigh and a portion of Stephen Toyofuku’s coconut-topped butter mochi, as astonishingly delicious as the bird. But “the stick” is often the first item to sell out. Campbell’s no great fan of white meat. In the fryer, “it’s the largest piece and it’s in there for the longest time, so it’s usually pretty dry.” The Chicken Supply cuts its white meat into chunks, threads them onto a skewer, and gives them a quick fry. This maneuver vaults humble chicken breast into the decadence territory of state fair snacks. “In the Philippines, you just eat a lot of food on sticks.”
His heritage also collides surprisingly well with America’s traditional fried chicken sides. Heady garlic rice, coconut collard greens, monggo beans and rice…the cold pancit noodles—lightly lemony, topped with breadcrumbs—could be an entree unto itself. The conversational menu descriptions (“Let’s be honest, if we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that dark meat is the best”) bring Campbell’s in-person buoyancy into the sterile process of ordering food online.
Most miraculously, everything at Chicken Supply is gluten-free. It happened somewhat by accident, as Campbell recipe tested within his circle, which includes plenty of gluten-free or celiac eaters. What’s the point of having a restaurant, he asks, if your friends can’t hang here? He was also the second-in-command at the Chicken Supply’s predecessor, Opus and Co., which largely eschewed gluten.
“People are always like, Why don’t you just make more?” says Campbell. The truth of it: All their available storage is already Jenga’d with chicken. The Chicken Supply’s mighty reputation doesn’t keep pace with its tiny size. Campbell sees neighborhood regulars who come twice a week, but if you’re placing an order from across town, no worries. Among this chicken’s superpowers—it travels exceedingly well.