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Hen House Newmarket Square?

Saw a blurb on the Hen House, a new chicken and waffle place cited in the Herald, purveyor of news on all things chowish. Anyone tried it and if so, how is it?

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  1. I've gone twice. The menu is pretty extensive. The main draw is chicken & waffles where you choose your flavor of butter and syrup. They also have sandwiches, salads, and pizza. Root beer on tap. A certain step up from the generic pizza place it replaced.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fanonscudder

      Thanks fanonscudder. i'll give it a try next time I'm near. How would you rate the fried chicken?

    2. I went last week and though it was OK. The Sysco truck parked out front as I walked in made me nervous. I ordered Wings and Waffle, with Hot Buffalo sauce, Cajun Butter on my waffle and maple syrup.
      I was asked whether I wanted my wings tossed in the wing sauce or sauce on the side, I asked for them to be tossed in the sauce yet the sauce came on the side anyway. I called this to the attention of the cashier and she quickly had the problem fixed.
      At first glance I was very skeptical of the wings because I believe, in a fairly dogmatic way, that wings should never be breaded under any circumstance and yet these were. I will say that despite the breading the wings were enjoyable, large juicy wings with a decent buffalo sauce. I would put them third behind Buffs and Redbones in my pantheon.
      As for the waffle, it was fairly nondescript and unfortunately served kinda cold, it didn't melt the butter. The cajun butter went well with the buffalo wings and despite what I have read on other websites the syrup was not real maple. One real highlight was the soda, which is locally made, Mercury I think.

      1. I went with the husband tonight. My waffle was hot. Butter melted, and the chicken was done well and seasoned to the bone. Rootbeer on tap was tasty.

        1. I drove by there this weekend and saw it for the first time. Had to go in and try, since it was such an odd concept. It's likeable, though not high cuisine by any means. The buttermilk waffles were a little insubstantial. Just a base for everything else. I liked the combinations between the butter (we got 5 herb), syrup (clove honey), and sauce (apricot chipotle). We live near there, so we'll go now and then. Didn't try any of the other items, but the root beer was good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Fukui San

            It is an odd concept but chicken and waffle places are found throughput the South. Gladys Knight (of Pips fame) has a chain of chicken and waffle places.

            1. re: Fukui San

              Legend has it that the combination of chicken and waffles was started by jazz musicians stumbling into all-night greasy spoons after gigs back in the '30s and '40s: when you get off work at four in the morning, it's hard to tell whether what you want is dinner or breakfast.

            2. I stopped in Sunday afternoon on a whim, there were about 20 or so folks in there. I got the impression that they are still in shake-down mode. I ordered the waffles and wings (buttermilk/whipped butter/clover honey syrup/ hot buffalo wings) It took about 20 minutes for my order to come up. Like some others, the waffle could have been hotter, butter wasn't really melting. I'm no waffle aficionado, but I did enjoy the waffle, light and airy with a bit of mild crunch, not a leaden stone in the gut. I really enjoyed the clover honey maple syrup too.

              I'm with ChicenBrocandZiti, usually if breaded wings show up on my plate my head starts spinin' round and it's out the window Father Karras. These weren't terribly offensive however and I think if they were served hot out of the fryolator, they would be pretty good. Mine were small to medium in size which I prefer. I thought the (hot) buffalo sauce- they have regular and hot, was very good a nice balance of heat, vinegar and butter. Very similar flavor profile (at least to me) as Buffs, but maybe a notch or two hotter which is fine by me.

              The sandwiches look to lean towards creative, not typical sub shop fare and the salads sounded good too. I like the fact that they have some nice picnic tables outside, however the urban-industrial surroundings leave a little to be desired for an al fresco dining experience. I think they had pizza too which I may give a shot at some point, certainly it can't be any worse than any of Southie's current offerings.

              I'll be back, it's an interesting, though perhaps out of place concept for the Newmarket Square area. Street parking not much of a problem, I think they are open 24 hrs, but it's been quite some time since that was an important option for me.

              I hope it does well

              1. Tried it on Saturday. The fried chicken: pretty good, not great. Still, when you have a craving, it works.

                Mac and cheese: could use more cheese. And personally, for Southern-style mac I like it baked versus loose. But again, not bad.

                Greens: good. Decent amount of spicey heat, hint of hamhock, cooked just the way I like them.

                Smoked cheese grits: highlight of the meal. I LOVE Cheese grits, and these were just about perfect.

                (BTW, sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been swamped at work ,and frankly, haven't had much chowish news to relate lately.)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bostonbob3

                  Weird, I found the smoked cheese grits to be foul - they tasted chemical-y, like rubber inner-tube and liquid smoke. And I love cheese grits, too. Maybe they saw my post and fixed the grits?

                  1. re: Prav

                    I loved them, and I've spent a lot of time working down South. But everybody has different tastes. The cheese IS a smoked cheese, so it has a very distinct flavor. (Personally, I can't stand plain grits, but I'm addicted to cheese grits and sour grits.)

                2. I think the fried chicken is very good (whole piece only), but the waffles could be crisper and denser. They're too light and fluffy, don't stand up to the chicken. Best to avoid all the many mediocre Sysco sauces offered. Just get butter and syrup (though the syrup is fake maple). Or get the waffles sans chicken, maybe with straweberries and Redi-Whip. Not bad, but not great. The logo t-shirts, however, are very cool.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    The sense I've built up online is that it is a good spot if you're in the area, but not worth making a special trip to. Given that it'd be a special trip for me to get to I haven't yet gone ;) Would you agree w/ this assessment?

                    1. re: jgg13

                      I found the sides -- at least the ones they weren't completely out of -- underwhelming to awful, the waffles disappointing, the sauces just plain gross and the chicken pretty good but I can do better myself. Also, the counter help sets new local records for indifferent surliness. I would revise that assessment to "If you're in the neighborhood AND the Speed's cart isn't around."

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        Heh, yeah - that's the other reason I never went there. When it was warmer it wasn't as much of a hassle, which means that Speeds is always there. :)

                        I'm a fan of the chicken & waffles pairing, but it doesn't sound like they've really done it justice.

                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                      I think if the chicken (and yes, I only ordered whole pieces, mostly thighs) was just seasoned slightly more they'd get my "very good" rating. The breading and frying is actually quite well done, but it just seemed under-seasoned to me. Especially under-peppered.

                    3. I went to the opening night party for Hen House and feasted on several complimentary plates of chicken and waffles - I thought it was delish. My BF keeps begging me to go back on Sunday mornings but I typically veto since I'd like to make it to 30 without having a massive heart attack.

                      Also, to MC Slim - I am good friends with the guy who designed the logo and I agree it is kick-a$$. If you had come to opening night, you would have gotten a free trucker hat...