Chicken Ranch from Chef Demetrios Atheneos Opens Tonight in University Heights



"We're ready," promises chef Demetrios Atheneos.

Tonight he and his brother/partner Niko will open the doors to Chicken Ranch (13892 Cedar Rd., 216-938-7645), located in the former home of the Rice Shop in University Heights.

The main event will be the Amish fried chicken, sold as tenders, wings and boneless thighs, all of which come with jalapeño corn fritters, pickles and a choice of sauce. There are nearly a dozen dipping sauces that range range from buttermilk ranch to Lebanese-style garlic sauce. For high heat, diners should opt for the Florida jerk and Cleveland hot.

Atheneos, formerly of Forage Public House, Oak Barrel and Bold, knows that fried chicken is enjoying a bit of a moment, but he feels that his technique will set his products apart.

“When you taste mine you’ll see how unique it is,” the chef promises. “We start with a spicy buttermilk brine and then it gets battered. You really see the layers when it comes out, that crispy, flaky outside shell, this creamy brined meat inside. And then you pick your sauces, so really, whatever flavor the customer is going for they can decide.”

Those tenders, along with half and whole birds, can be ordered fire-roasted, plucked from the live-fire rotisserie. The menu also features a selection of chicken sandwiches made with fried (or roasted) boneless thighs, kale slaw, pickles and various sauces on a brioche bun.

In addition to the fried and roasted chicken, there will be half slabs of baby back ribs, fire-roasted tiger shrimp and popcorn cauliflower nuggets, also paired with sauce and sides.

Rounding out the menu are add-ons like salad, chili and mac and cheese, each of which can be topped with chicken.

The name is an homage an uncle, who ran a spot of the same name in New York in the 1980s.

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