The North Shore will soon get its hands on some red-hot Nashville hot chicken, as Honey’s Hot Chicken (1791 St. Johns Ave., Highland Park, 847-432-6300) eyes an early June opening in downtown Highland Park.
Owner Jeff Shapiro and executive chef/partner Dean Eliacostas—the dynamic duo behind Real Urban Barbecue (Highland Park, Vernon Hills, and Oak Brook)—were inspired by visits to fried chicken shacks around the country, including a pilgrimage to Nashville to sample its famous, cayenne-laced hot chicken.
Shapiro, a Highland Park native, thinks there's "nowhere to get fried chicken in the North Shore."
To fill said void, fried chicken will be the centerpiece of Eliacosta’s from-scratch menu and made to order in various ways: traditional, glazed with either Honey’s spicy Nashville Hot or buffalo sauce, dusted with ranch or za’atar seasonings, or Chef Dean’s honey butter fried chicken. Orders come in two, four, eight or 16 pieces, with the option to add on individual pieces. Just make sure you stick to one flavor per order.
Rounding out the menu will be Southern-leaning sides such as grilled watermelon with feta, buttermilk biscuits, and crispy fried grits; healthier options like grilled chicken and three salads; soft drinks, bottled beer, and wine; and one of the largest displays of house-baked fruit pies in the area, Shapiro says.
The wood- and stainless steel–accented counter-service spot in the former Kip’s Delicatessen space will seat about 80, with an additional 28-ish seats outside during warmer months.
Given Honey’s close proximity to the train station, Shapiro and Eliacostas expect a lot of Ravinia-goers will grab some hot chicken to go on their way to the outdoor concert series … and that the burn of cayenne will probably linger till the encore.