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Beasley's Chicken and Honey Opened in Raleigh?

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Rumor mill was churning that this new outpost for Ashley Christensen's fantastic cooking was opening soon. Anyone have any details and whether they will take reservations or be more like Poole's?

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  1. $7.50 for a fried chicken quarter

    $6.75 for a chicken biscuit

    Wow...better be the best around for that kind of money.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leadmine

      Just for price comparison, 1/4 fried chicken with 2 sides and bread is $11 at Mama Dips. Beasley's is nicer/fancier than Mama's, and based on Ashley Christensen's prior work, the food will be better (and use higher quality ingredients). The prices seem right to me.

    2. We had dinner there last night. No reservations, table service. We arrived about 10 minutes after they opened and were seated by a hostess (something that may not last once the big initial rush is over). It was completely packed by 7pm.

      Prices are high for fried chicken. As mentioned, it's $7.50 for a fried chicken quarter and $6.75 for a chicken biscuit. Those prices do not include any sides or biscuits. Sides are $3.25 each, I think, and an order of biscuits is a side.

      So basically if you want fried chicken, mac and cheese, and an order of biscuits, you've spent $14.

      We had fried chicken, an order of biscuits, mac and cheese, and potato salad. Everything was outstanding. The crust was really, really crunchy, and the honey didn't make it a bit soggy. The biscuits are on the firm/springy side (rather than the pillowy/crumbly side) and were very, very tasty. The mac and cheese is a pimento cheese/mac and cheese custard. I thought it was great. And the potato salad is very mustardy and bacony and was the best I've had recently.

      So in short, you have to be mentally prepared to pay a lot for fried chicken, but the quality of the food makes it worth it.

      I was pretty impressed with how efficiently the kitchen was running. They were getting the orders out fast in spite of the fact that they were completely swamped.

      I will add that the selection of local beers on tap was good and the cocktails on the cocktail menu looked really, really interesting.

      4 Replies
      1. re: rafeco

        I decided not to go last night, as it was opening night. So it's interesting that they handled it so well. I saw the menu in an article on newraleigh.com - and I immediately thought how much I wanted to try each and every side dish - as well as a couple of the cocktails.

        Did y'all see the nice and interesting article in the Indy? These three new venues will serve no bottled or canned beer - it will all be on tap. No recycling - and no lost time re-stocking or refrigerating individual beers.

        1. re: cackalackie

          I read the article in the Indy the minute I picked' up the paper. Great stuff!

          We're heading to Beasley's tonight. We'll get there early to hopefully beat the rush.

          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

            We had a really interesting experience at Beasley's. The only main available was the quarter chicken. I think that's a smart move on AC's part as i had the best service i've ever had in a newly opened restaurant. Our server knew the menu pretty well. We were in and out in less than 45 minutes. Service is rarely this good, especially not in a new restaurant.

            The chicken was really tasty. The skin was crisp and had lots of flavor. The meat was moist and flavorful. This is a new take on chicken to me and the innovation is commendable.

            The potato salad was my favorite side, though the mac and cheese was a close second. The biscuits were triangular. The were denser than those from Bojangles and more sweet.

            On to desserts. We had the chess pie, the cheesecake and the apple pie. The apple pie was dense with apple slices and had a flavorful crust. The chess pie was ok, but not mind blowing. The cheesecake was served with fruit on the side. It was an excellent dish. What set it apart from the other dishes was its tart, lactic flavor. This flavor was intense and provided a necessary foil to the many sweet flavors of the meal.

            They have a solid selection of beer and an excellent cocktail menu. My wife had their take on a lime rickey, i think. It was made with rum and used chocolate chile bitters. I thought it was a sublime mix of well-thought out flavors.

            We'll definately be back. It was well worth the drive from Chapel Hill.

            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

              Have you eaten at Dame's Chicken & Waffles? Theychicken is just awesome with some sort of tasty herb coating and a really crispy exterior. Their waffles with the various toppings are so delicious. For a couple of bucks more than what AC is charging for just the chicken you get chicken, waffles with topping, and a side (best collard greens I've had in the Triangle-- braised rather than boiled to death)! Add the fact that Durham is closer to Chapel Hill than Raleigh...let's just say I'm in no hurry to try Beasley's.

              It was also disappointing that she got waxed by Bobby Flay on Iron Chef.

      2. I agree with Rafeco's review--excellent food but somewhat steep prices. I went the other day for lunch with intention of getting the chicken biscuit which I thought would let me try two main offerings in one order. Although that's quiet a bit more expensive than the Bo or Biscuitville I knew it would be worth it. Apparently others felt the same as I was at the end of normal lunch hours and they were out of the Chicken Biscuit. They had the quarter chicken and they had biscuits for a side so I could combine those and spend $10.75 and get probably more than I really wanted to eat for a late lunch. I'm guessing the Chicken Biscuit is some sort of breast filet so they couldn't easily have combined the remaining components? Am also guessing the fact they ran out may be a bit about ironing out early kinks and predicting demand as I think it's going to be critical to make sure they have all options available given the limited menu. In any event, I decided to just get the quarter chicken at $7.50 and no sides. Got a pint of tea for $1 so total tab was $8.50.

        The chicken was absolutely great--best fried chicken I've had in awhile. Maybe best I've ever had and the honey is a nice change / enhancement without making the dish completely new or too far away from the classic. Stuff was definitely finger licking good which I think is a testament to both the quality of the food as well as the fact that I was intent on getting my money's worth. I found out later that apparently there are no free refills on the tea (which was made great with the side of sugar water or simple syrup you can add yourself). You can order different sizes of tea at different prices but refills apparently count as a new order. This makes sense in the broader scheme of things but it's hard for this southerner to grasp. So, I left thinking I'd gotten some really great fried chicken and at that price I'd gotten really about as much food as I'd get elsewhere for lunch in a sandwich for around the same price. Glad I didn't get a tea refill though. Also, still wish I was able to get the Chicken Biscuit and will just have to go back to try that. Overall I found the food was great and the value not bad.

        Still I have some concerns about long-term success for the establishment. Here are my concerns: (1) I don't really "love" fried chicken the way some people do and I'm not sure how many people really do love it the way we southerners are supposed to and may have at some earlier time, (2) I unfortunately cannot eat that stuff diet-wise very often even if I did absolutely love it, (3) when I do eat it, I prefer the filet vareity rather than digging stuff off the bone and am willing to sacrifice taste and quality for convenience, particularly if I'm eating out in public and not at a tailgate, and (4) I will always be inclined (albeit unfairly) to compare the product / price here to a chicken filet biscuit and sweet tea at Bojangles. (I take the point prices are in line with Mama Dips but in my experience the Bo is typically better than Mama Dips so not part of my usual mindset.). All of that just has me wondering how often I will go back there unless there are some daily or rotating specials in addition to the chicken. I can definitely see going once and awhile and taking family and friends to show off some of our unique and excellent culinary attractions but I'm just afraid I'm not likely to hit them up for a typical lunch or dinner outing. Hopefully there are enough others out there that feel differently and will provide the needed long-term support. Maybe also there will be some expanded offerings in the future like a daily breast and vegetable combo plate or blue plate special or an ability to put together a plate of 3 or 4 vegetables and biscuit that aren't as expensive as the $13 or so it cost to do 4 sides now. I know friends of mine that don't eat fried chicken and will probably find it hard to assemble a meal from the current sides. Maybe we are just not part of the long-term target audience though.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Guilty Gourmand

          Thanks for the excellent and thoughtful review. Reading about this place (without yet going) my thoughts were similar to yours regarding price and variety. I suspect if it was anyone other than Ashley Christensen running it folks would be less accepting of the price...I have no issues with her, but have noticed that longtime Raleigh folks are just crazy about her.

          The no refills for ice tea is going to irritate a lot of people. It just smacks of pennywise, pound foolish in the face of tradition. That policy will make the high prices harder to swallow.

          I too know many who don't eat chicken. The price for 4 sides is steep. I'm not saying the quality isn't worth it, but $13 for a casual lunch before bev, tax and tip - that's going to eliminate a great number of people from working Beasley's into their rotation.

          1. re: Guilty Gourmand

            Sorry, but no refills on ice tea is a deal breaker for me.

            1. re: ucctgg

              A pint of tea (no ice) costs $1 and a quart of iced tea (no ice) costs $2. They'll refill your ice as many times as you like.

              I thought I drank a lot of tea and I couldn't get through half of the quart jar with my meal.

              At most restaurants a glass of tea (with refills) costs $2, so in the end the price is about the same for the iced tea at Beasley's as it is anywhere else -- cheaper if you can get by on a pint. I will add that the tea is very very good.

              1. re: rafeco

                I'll also add that they hit you with a glass of filtered ice water just as soon as you arrive, no charge. Get the big tea if you think you want that much, the little one if you don't. Either way you'll have enough to drink. For me, it's just not been worth worrying about.

          2. Probably a completely stupid question, so forgive me please. I didn't grow up in the south (I grew up in DC, which my Canadian husband thinks is the south, but I bet most southerners don't), so I'm not familiar with the idea of mixing fried chicken with honey. Is this a tradition?

            10 Replies
            1. re: LulusMom

              I have eaten fried chicken at many, many places, and have never seen it before prior to the experiments with it at Poole's and now Beasley's. It's surprisingly good, but I don't think it's superior to fried chicken without honey.

              1. re: rafeco

                Thanks for the information. I'm really not liking the idea of the sweetness with fried chicken myself, but I'd certainly be game to try a bite. So this isn't some big southern culinary tradition that I missed out on? That relieves me a bit, I have to say.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I've lived my entire life in the South. I had always heard of this, but rarely seen it. Same with chicken and waffles. My ex-in-laws hailed from Tx. and Eastern NC - neither of them had been aware of chicken and honey growing up. Same with my Mississippi mother, who learned to cook at the knee of a very accomplished Southern cook/housekeeper. (Which was fortunate since my grandmother was a limited cook!) I lived in Tn. for some time and never encountered it there either.

                  I have tried it and the flavors work better than you might imagine. I seldom indulge in fried chicken and when I do I relish the purity of the succulent chicken paired with perfectly seasoned crunchy skin. Nothing more needed imho!

                  1. re: meatn3

                    I hear you on that (nothing else needed)! Thanks for the cultural history lesson.

                  2. re: LulusMom

                    I'm a lifelong Southerner and never heard of honey with chicken or chicken and waffles growing up. My first taste of chicken and waffles was at Roscoe's in Southern California a few years ago. I was plesantly surprised as to how good it was. I don't want my fried chicken that way everytime but it is really good. I'm glad Dame's is nearby when I have that craving.

                    Is honey mandatory at Beasley's? I'm not offended by the prices as I'm sure they are buying really good chicken and the staff I'm guessing gets paid better than folks that work at Bo/KFC/etc.but the no refils on iced tea is a little offputting.

                2. re: LulusMom

                  Hadn't heard of Chicken and HOney (except for like chicken tenders and dipping them in honey), but had heard of Chicken and Waffles plenty just that there were never places around here that offered it. For me it was like trying to find a Monte Christo sandwich until Dame's showed up with Chicken and Waffles.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    This thread made me remember this soul food place in Winston named Chicken and Honey. It's been closed for at least 7 or 8 years and until recently they had a menu still posted; can't remember if chicken and honey was on the menu or where the name came from.

                    The building still sits there waiting for the next chicken entrepreneur.

                     
                    1. re: quazi

                      Interesting! If I remember correctly, Christensen is from Kernersville so it's likely that she had visited this place. Possibly was an inspiration?

                      1. re: Leadmine

                        I thought I read a short article recently where she stated that honey over fried chicken was something her family always did? I think I read it on New Raleigh (blog.)

                    2. re: LulusMom

                      I don't know how commonly chicken is served with honey, but I can tell you it's delicious.

                      In fact, I've been doing it for years. Lee's Famous Recipe always served a package of honey with your biscuit. I'd get the chicken plate, pull the fried top off of my thigh piece and put it in the biscuit with the honey. Best thing ever.

                    3. In fairness on the iced tea, I'll point out that I got a pint of good sweet tea for $1 and regulated my intake (also got a glass of water) so I didn't end up needing a refill. That's not a bad price for a spot of tea I think--not sure where else you can get any tea for just $1. Also, knowing that I wouldn't get another jar allowed me to indulge the sweetener without as much guilt. If I understand the menu, I think you can get a quart jar for $2 so that's also not a bad price for that amount of tea. Just tough to not have automatic refills.

                      I'd never heard of honey and fried chicken either but I very much enjoyed it. It was just enough of a twist on the usual to be different but still classic.

                      1. Went back to Beasley's to try the Chicken Biscuit and was informed that it had been removed from the menu to tweak the recipe some. I asked if this was like a breast filet in a biscuit and the waiter said he was not sure and didn't know what the changes would reveal. Guess I'll just have to keep checking in to see if the Chicken Biscuit comes back.

                        Did anybody out there get to try a Chicken Biscuit before it was removed? Just curious how it was.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: Guilty Gourmand

                          This thread caused me to seek out and eat my first ever chicken biscuit from Bojangles.

                          Never again.

                          1. re: ToothTooth

                            I've never had one either. Tell, tell!

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Don't know if what you got was swimming in grease or if you just didn't like the combo of chx in a biscuit but if it was the grease, it might have just been the Bojangle's location you went to. Some of them seem to almost dip their biscuits in the fryer before they give them to you. Never will forget the time I opened my biscuit to find a nice pool of grease on top of the chicken.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                First: I love biscuits. I love fried chicken. I have guilty love for chicken biscuits.

                                I generally like Bojangle's biscuits, but the fried chicken they put on that thing was awful. Weirdly bread-y and not crispy. The breading almost seemed undercooked, giving the whole "filet" a pale, unappetizing color. Plus, the biscuits are greasy enough on their own without adding a fried something-or-other on top of it.

                                Next time my skinny ass is jonesing for a chicken biscuit, I'll stick with Chick-Fil-A or Biscuitville.

                                Looking forward to trying Beasley's sometime if I can ever drag myself out of Durham make the trip to downtown Raleigh.

                                1. re: ToothTooth

                                  Biscuitville > Bojangle's most definitely.

                                  Haven't had the 'ville's chicken biscuit yet, but their biscuits are the best fast food option IMO.

                                  1. re: ToothTooth

                                    If you are in the western half of the Triangle the place to try a chicken biscuit is Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen drive-through in Chapel Hill.

                                    -----
                                    Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen
                                    1305 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

                                    1. re: bbqme

                                      Anyone know if the biscuits at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen are made with lard?

                                      -----
                                      Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen
                                      208 S Bickett Blvd, Louisburg, NC 27549

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Pretty sure it's veg shortening...note, the chicken biscuit is best if it has some sort of lubricant alongside, like jelly. I also get cheese...although it's been a long time since I've had one.

                                2. re: ToothTooth

                                  Try again. I think a Bojangle's cajun filet biscuit is one of the great little pleasures in life. It's especially good if you order a side of honey mustard and pour it over the chicken.

                                  It's about the only fast food I eat when I'm not forced to eat fast food.

                                  1. re: ickymettle

                                    I'm loathe to take your advice based on my last experience at bojangles but due to the fact that I love honey mustard and I love your alias (archers of loaf!) I'll consider it.

                                    1. re: ToothTooth

                                      The boneless filet at Bo's can be pretty inconsistant. When it's good it's really good and when it's bad it's pretty damn bad, well maybe more disappointing once you've had a good one. I will say this, the Bojangles in the Triangle are operated by a company called Tri Arc Foods and I have noticed that the Bojangles outside of the Triangle area are usually better.

                                      Of course you could always skip the ready made fillet biscuit, buy a bone in breast with plain biscuit and make a chicken biscuit TIme Out style. It's really good.

                                      1. re: LBD

                                        While I prefer Biscuitville's biscuits, Bojangles' chicken is superior. And I love the Supremes, which are the tenderloins. Maybe I get lucky, but the ones I go to around Raleigh (not frequently, I might add), it seems that the chicken has just been cooked. It's fresh and ho
                                        t and not greasy.

                                        1. re: cackalackie

                                          Ok, so got suckered this morning into trying McD's $1 chicken biscuit. I'd never had it before, and was curious if my low expectations would be met. They didn't let me down. It was simply awful and definitely not worth the $1.08 I paid. The chicken filet was a larger version of their "chicken" nugget...tasted over-processed and void of flavor.

                                          A warning to any other suckers like me out there.

                                          1. re: Leadmine

                                            Has anyone tried Merritt's biscuits? I'm a big fan of the biscuit food group, but I the idea of fried chicken on a biscuit doesn't do much for me. I prefer dark meat for my fried chicken.

                                        2. re: LBD

                                          After reading LBD's post, I should point out that, to my knoweldge, all of my Bojangles' experiences have been outside the Triangle (I live in Charlotte, where the original Bonjangles' stands). And it is true that you can hit the Bo on a bad day. The last cajun filet biscuit I got was leathery and didn't seem fresh. That's a rarity, though.

                                          1. re: ickymettle

                                            I stopped at one in Statesville several months ago and happened to notice there was some type of BoJ corporate office right behind the restaurant, the filet biscuit there was sublime. I've never had one in the Triangle that good, ever.

                                3. Here is a photo of one of the chicken and biscuits for those wondering. This is care of the Chef herself.

                                  http://yfrog.com/o0p4jpj

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                    Interesting. That seems like a *lot* of biscuit to go with something breaded and fried.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I'm sure that green tomato biscuit is tasty, but I don't like the looks of it one bit. Anything that would require the unhinging my jaw to take a bite of is not the least appealing. This looks like it needs to be an open faced sandwich eaten with a knife and fork. Who the heck eats biscuits with a knife and a fork?!

                                      Lets talk about Bojangles so more instead. HAW HAW HAW!!!!

                                      1. re: ToothTooth

                                        Please don't -- unless you open up a new thread. This is a pretty serious instance of topic drift. I really have no interest in following a discussion on Bojangles here. It's frustrating when I really want to know more about Beasley's. It's no big deal to start a new topic and hey, you may well have more people contributing.

                                        1. re: TerryG

                                          So, I drive past Bojangles every morning on my way to work and think about stopping in. But I don't. Then, I think of making a long drive at lunch time to try Beasley's. If Bojangles were to get in a fight with Beasley's who would win?

                                        2. re: ToothTooth

                                          It looks good - if you decontruct it and eat each item separately.

                                          1. re: cackalackie

                                            That's pretty much what I was thinking. And then don't you kind of miss the whole point?

                                      2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                        Thanks for the pic. I'm not too fond of green tomatoes but I'd try it. Glad we have some places in Raleigh that strive for originality.

                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                          I can attest to the fact that this is a darn big biscuit. You can take it apart and have basically two open-faced chicken and honey biscuits, with or without the tomato. Probably best treated as a knife and fork affair, but do as you must.

                                          1. re: FuzzyT

                                            Finally made it back to try the Chicken Biscuit. As shown in the photo, it comes with pickled green tomatoes and honey and dijon. I'm not a huge green tomato fan either so I took those off and sampled separately. Interesting and different pickled quality to the tomatoes. I was not crazy about them but they were different and interesting. On to the chicken biscuit. This appears to be a boneless piece of thigh meat on a large biscuit with a reasonable amount of honey and dijon mustard on the biscuit. I didn't notice honey on the chicken itself as i did with the quarter chicken but there was still honey there and it was a nice completement to the chicken. I sort of pigged out and was able to get most of the biscuit and chicken in my mouth at once. It was a bit of a stretch and some of the biscuit fell apart as you would expect but not too difficult. Taste wise I thought both the biscuit and the chicken were good but not incredible. The quarter chicken seemed tastier and juicer, etc. which I guess is to be expected. Just wish you could get the quarter chicken with one biscuit on the side without having to order a whole side of biscuits for $3.50. I think the chicken biscuit is about the right size for a lunch order and suspect I'll be back for that again from time to time but my preference will probably be to plan out a visit when I can go with family or friends and order several sides for the group to sample and just have the quarter chicken for myself.

                                            A couple of other notes--they had a chicken salad special today which sounded good--mix of white and dark meat chicken off the bone and mixed with some hot stuff and other items into chicken salad mixture served on a biscuit. Not sure of the price.

                                            Also, it looked like Chuck's (AC's new burger place next door to Beasley's) was open.

                                        2. So I finally made it to Beasley's. Had been really looking forward to it as I have several friends that believe that Christensen is a goddess of all thing culinary.

                                          I had the chicken biscuit and my friend had the 1/4 white. We shared the mac and cheese, potato salad and some biscuits. The biscuits were hard and crumbly - difficult to even eat with a knife and fork. Honestly, I've never had a biscuit in the south that was so - dull. The chicken on the chicken biscuit was dark meat which was a surpise but i didin't ask so i'll take that one on the chin. My friend's 1/4 white, although cooked very well, was tasteless to the bone. The mac and cheese was very good as was the potato salad. We also decided to share the chocolate cake and again was not impressed - best thing about it was the small piece of banana on it.

                                          At the end of our meal, two ladies sitting next to us leaned over and asked what we thought of the meal. We told them that we were fairly dissappointed and they told us that they felt the same. One of the ladies said that she was surprised that the chicken and waffle didn't come with any syrup or honey. When she asked for some, she was told that she could pay for a small container of honey (not more than 30-45 ml at most). She said that even with the extra honey the waffle was too dry to enjoy.

                                          All in all we were not impressed after all of the hype. I hope Chuck's is better.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: DaveInRaleigh

                                            I ate at Beasleys last week. We chose to drink the water rather than buy tea, not for the cost but the calories. I got a quarter chicken and collards and mashed potatoes and biscuits. My daughter got a waffle and chicken combo and mac and cheese on the side. The food was fine but I've had better. She picked up the tab which was $45.00+ including tip. I heard that Chuck's, Beasleys, and the steak house nearby all share one kitchen. Since this establishment is near the courthouse, they may be interested in the lawyer business because a poor working stiff would not be able to afford it. I'm glad I tried it, but would not go out of my way to return.

                                          2. Finally made it to Beasley's last night. I should first say that I love Poole's Diner and would eat there 7 days a week. That's why it pains me to say how disappointed I was with Beasley's Chicken. We had the Chicken and Waffles and the Chicken Biscuit. The chicken just wasn't good. I could live with the high prices if the food was great but it just wasn't. I'll give it another try because I have a feeling the Chicken Pot Pie and the Meat Loaf will be very good but I'm moving on from the Fried Chicken. By the way, Chuck's next door smells terrific.