What’s for Dinner? Chicken Coop, Obviously

If you’re not familiar with Peekskill’s NY Firehouse Grille, then you might not realize how monumental the grand opening of its sister restaurant, Chicken Coop, is. Here’s a quick primer:

With more than 50 flavors of wings and a selection of wraps, sandwiches, burgers, and tacos, the Northern Westchester grille has made quite a name for itself. This past year, chef-owner Alex Asadoorian gleefully hoisted a pair of trophies, taking home both Third Place People’s Choice and the Judge’s Choice pick for Best BBQ Wing at Westchester Magazine’s Third Annual Wingfest. Their legendary “Waiver Wings” — requiring an actual signature to consume — are legitimately the hottest thing several WM staffers have ever tried.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Asadoorian and his team are holding a grand opening on March 7 for Chicken Coop, a new restaurant in the Northeast corner of the county, hoping to fill a niche carry-out market that’s gone historically underserved.

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Chicken Coop is located in the Somers Commons shopping center, just around the corner from the New York Sports Clubs.

“We do a lot of takeout and we wanted to try and bring that aspect into a different market,” says Asadoorian. “I’ve always had this idea of the rotisserie chicken, trying to solve that ‘What’s for dinner?’ question.”

Inspired by Mexican street tacos, these feature pulled, marinated chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet corn, and mozzarella with crema in a seasoned and grilled tortilla.

“There’s a bunch of fried chicken places around here, so I wanted to do the home cooked sides, the nice hot rotisserie chicken, bring in the wings — we have like 30 flavors here and we’re adding six more this week — a bunch of chicken sandwiches, steak sandwiches, that kind of stuff,” he continues. “I really love making sandwiches, that’s my passion.”

Tossed in a little butter and coated with cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning, “Bagelman” wings are one of those weird menu options that shouldn’t work but absolutely does.

The menu is already becoming a hit with families and especially local teens. (If you get caught in a Somers/Mahopac turf war, we recommend siding with the Somers crew, for their numbers.)

The coop’s heft selection of wings, sauces, and sides is complemented by new sandwiches (like the flagship Nashville Hot) and a few returning favorites (like the Jackie Chan, pictured below).

“It’s got a little kick to it.” Originally a special from NY Firehouse Grille, so many customers requested the Jackie Chan — sriracha-honey pulled chicken on crispy buttered panini bread with coleslaw, pickles, bacon, and cheddar cheese — that it’s now a full-time menu item at the Coop.

“No one around here is a Nashville hot chicken; no one has one, “says Asadoorian. “So I took a trip down to Nashville; I did some R&D, me and my wife. We ate far too much.” The result is lovingly spicy buttermilk fried chicken — about the size of an iPad mini, mind you — on a fluffy, toasted brioche bun, loaded up with pickles and coleslaw, and “comeback sauce” designed to keep you returning for more. This is one time where taking a knife and fork to your sandwich is not only permissible, it is recommended.

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Sweet up front but hot and spicy on the back end, with Alex Asadoorian’s penchant for punny menu item names, we’re a little surprised this beauty of a sandwich isn’t called the “crazy ex.”

Weekly specials also allow Asadoorian to try out a few new menu items when the mood strikes, like shrimp tacos, a Kansas City chicken sandwich, or the popular “Jommy fries,” bacon mac & cheese over Cajun fries with ranch and chipotle mayo.

Chicken and waffle fry “nachos” are a sweet, savory take on the Southern breakfast staple and make for a perfect sharing appetizer.

Chicken Coop will hold its official ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, March 6 at 4 p.m. with town officials and special guests. On Saturday, for its grand opening the restaurant will be celebrating with music, a free buffet, and what is sure to be the first of many wing eating contests.

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