After closing French restaurant and wine bar Aix and Tin Tin earlier this fall and reopening the Brady Avenue space as Nick’s Westside, chef Nick Leahy launches a ghost kitchen Tuesday called Chicken Out. The delivery-only restaurant, run from the kitchen at Nick’s Westside, serves nothing but chicken.
The menu for Chicken Out features four- and eight-piece fried chicken meals, half or whole roasted chickens, roasted chicken shawarma, a selection of smoked wings with choice of sauces, and a crispy chicken sandwich. Side dishes, like fat fries, mac and cheese mixed with ham and caramelized onions, and braised greens, are also available, along with fried cinnamon doughnut holes for dessert.
Why a ghost kitchen? Leahy says he launched Chicken Out due to the “strong demand” for food delivery during the ongoing health crisis, and saw an opportunity to get creative and offer an all-chicken menu.
“Chicken Out was an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. It just had to be the right time. On the business side, it made perfect sense, since delivery concepts or ‘ghost kitchens’ have exploded during the pandemic,” Leahy tells Eater. “As a restaurant owner and a chef, I believe that being nimble is the best way to hedge against the uncertainty and the challenges we’ve experienced during the pandemic.”
Delivery-only restaurant concepts, like Chicken Out, continue to thrive during the pandemic. Euromonitor, a market research firm, estimated ghost kitchens could be a $1 trillion business by 2030. For restaurants in financial crisis as the pandemic drags on and a federal bailout plan for small businesses awaits approval from Congress, these virtual concepts also provide much-needed additional revenue.
“Realistically, there are only so many products being launched in the virtual restaurant space. It’s a lot of chicken wings, a lot of grain bowls, and sandwiches and pastas, things that travel well,” Nikki Freihofer, a senior strategist for the Culinary Edge, told Eater recently. “The virtual space allows for a certain degree of flexibility and the ability to be nimble to adapt to consumer preferences, so operators shouldn’t shy away from innovation or creativity by any means.”
Enterprising chefs and food producers are also using ghost kitchens to test out new businesses or as a stepping stone to eventually open a permanent restaurant.
“Chicken Out was a standalone idea to cater to the growing number of people ordering food for delivery during the pandemic,” says Leahy. “To me, it was a no-brainer.”
Open Tuesday - Saturday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. for delivery via DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and UberEats. $3 delivery charge.
956 Brady Avenue NW, Ste. 100, Atlanta. chickenoutatl.com.