CUSP Magazine is a Chicago based publication focused on helping up and coming creatives gain exposure for their brand and products. Our company is a collective of highly motivated individuals who work together to bring a new voice to the creative community.
COVER FEATURE//HBFC diners and staff, and an aesthetic and atmosphere that was less consumption-driven and more about community. Word of mouth helped the Dinner Club grow quickly. Now, nine years later, foodies across the city covet an invitation to dinner with Josh and Christine. Although the Dinner Club is still inviteonly, its lists of diners have grown exponentially over the past decade and events are held monthly for broke but determined food loving hipsters, families, corporate groups, and just about anyone who can manage to get an invitation. The Dinner Club was where the concept for Honey Butter began. As they tell the story, one summer night when they were serving fried chicken with cornbread cakes, they accidentally spilled the honey butter meant for the cornbread on the chicken, but decided to eat it anyways. When they discovered how delicious it was, Christine said she ran back into the dining room, frantically advising her guests that they had to try the chicken with the honey butter on top. I have to agree with their assessment. The chicken is an amalgam of many flavors that complement and contrast one another perfectly. I was seduced into eating five pieces and a chicken sandwich. The chicken coated in a heavily seasoned and spiced flour mix that reacts really well with the sweet, salty butter. It isn’t the only contrastive flavor combination on the menu. Wisconsin cheddar cheese, spicy pepper, and “garlicky crumbs” are mixed into one of the best macaroni and cheese combinations I have ever tried. They also have a cream corn that is mixed with a little bit of Thai coconut green curry that would be perfect to slurp when you get a cold, brownies infused with spicy paprika, a lemony coleslaw variation they call “kale-slaw,” and of course, lots of innovative iterations of fried chicken. “We were consciously seeking restaurant. “We wanted to crea holistically fulfilling for us and 26 I am pretty partial to the Honey Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, their take on the classic buffalo chicken sandwich. But, you can’t go wrong with The Original Fried Chicken Sandwich either. It’s covered in candied jalapeño mayonnaise and served on a warm buttery bun. There are vegan and vegetarian options on the menu as well, including the Fried Onion String Sandwich. Even non-vegan eco-freaks can rest easy that they are not screwing up the world with their consumer choices. The produce at HBFC is environmentally sustainable and locally sourced as much as possible (as Josh reminded me that there are no pomegranates in Illinois). They buy their chickens whole from Miller Amish Farms in Indiana and butcher them in house. The chickens are humanely raised, antibiotic free, and raised in the kind of socialist utopia environment that I wish that I lived in. They fry it in non-GMO, trans fat-free canola oil, so it’s healthy, or at least as healthy as fried chicken can be. The rest of the chicken is put to use too, with the bones being put into chicken stock that they use to make their gravy and soups. They even sell the oil they cook the chicken in to be used as biofuel. “We were consciously seeking an alternative to the normal restaurant,” Christine said. “We wanted to create a restaurant that was more holistically fulfilling for us and the people who work for us.” The feeling of community pervading the atmosphere at HBFC go beyond their commitment to sustainable food. I was impressed by service at Honey Butter as I was asked multiple times if I needed anything by a nice young bartender with the most luxuriant mustache I have ever seen. I was tempted to ask for more chicken or a second Chocolate Toffee Cocoa Nib Cookie, but I had probably already consumed more calories than I would burn off in a week <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE
an alternative to the normal te a restaurant that was more the people who work for us.” that day, and it is boyfriend-hunting season after all. Instead, I sipped on an Avondale Ginger Mule, a sweet and limey gin-based take on the Moscow Mule, and a Smoky Derby, which is Rebel Yell Bourbon mixed with smoky paprika syrup and grapefruit. The cocktails run about $8.00 on average, so they’re cheaper than drinks you could get of a similar caliber at most bars. HBFC takes whiskey seriously, offering several regional brands, including Chicago’s favorite bourbons like Few Spirits and Bulleit. There are also wine and beer options available for those who aren’t trying to get too turnt while they eat their fried chicken. The bar space is cordoned off from the main area by a thin hallway. The mood is noticeably different between the two spaces as well. The lighting is a little dimmer in the back and a bar wraps around the walls. Young adults seemed to flock to this part <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE 27