Chick’N Out: A pop-up restaurant like you’ve never seen

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The "Instagram restaurant" uses fun and interactive media to get people in line an hour and a half early

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — If you’ve driven by Blossom Road Pub on a Thursday evening, you’ve probably seen a line extended out the door, and there’s a tasty reason as to why that is.

Adam Bierton is a Rochester native who attended School of the Arts. He started his career in food industry when he was 17 years old while working at 2 Vine, the former high-end restaurant. From there, he worked his way up.

Now he now runs Chick’n Out — the fried chicken sensation taking Rochester by storm.

“That [2 Vine] is where I fell in love with food, was that first job,” Bierton said. “It opened my doors to hospitality, good cooking, food.”

After that, he moved to New York City with his new wife. He was outside of the food industry for seven years while he ran a construction and remodeling business, but his passion for food and hospitality called him back, as well as his desire for more.

“Being a bartender for the rest of my life wasn’t cutting it,” Bierton said. “But I always had this burning desire to start my own restaurant.”

Photo provided by Chick’n Out, taken by Krit Upra

He was inspired by a New York City restaurant, Peach’s Hot House, that served hot chicken. When he came back to Rochester, he realized there was a void, and his passion for food ran hot.

“When I first started to fry I was at the Blossom Road Pub,” Bierton said. “If you could have seen the chicken I was putting out at the beginning … You would cringe, it was a disaster.

“I became obsessed with what makes good fried chicken good,” Bierton said. “I essentially took my grandmother’s recipe, she was from the South, and I developed on that. I created a science experiment; I would run a control and test fried chicken every way you could do it, you name it. This is the recipe I landed on.”

Photo provided by Chick’n Out, taken by Krit Upra

What makes it good?

“The love and attention,” Bierton said. “Types of oil, brining process, types of flours, seasoning …”

The recipe took a year and a half to create, and now people often wait for more than an hour to get their hands on it.

Line extends out the door, on an 18 degree night, at Blossom Road Pub in Rochester for Chick’N Out’s Thursday pop-up shop. (News 8 WROC Photo/Matt Driffill)

“It’s good fried chicken,” Bierton said. “We have a base recipe called ‘Not so hot,’ and it goes up from there; there’s ‘hot’ and ‘way too hot,’ and we’re going to be introducing a ‘way, way too hot’ any day now.”

Bierton launched Chick’n Out in April of 2019 with JeCarl Armstrong. More than 35 pop-ups later, Rochesterians have responded. On a weekly basis, Blossom Road Pub is packed, with folks arriving an hour or more before the food is even served.

Although, there’s a way to bypass the wait — if you’re dedicated. The “Golden Egg” challenge gives people who find the prize a chance to skip the line. The clues are given out on Instagram, where their clever marketing has earned a devoted following of more than 5,000 chicken fans. Just know, those Golden Eggs get snatched up quick.

The coveted golden egg of Chick’N Out, which lets customers skip the wait at the pop-ups. (News 8 WROC Photo/Dan Gross)

“I arrived here at 3:20 p.m. I usually try to get here between 3:20 p.m. and 3:30p.m.,” said customer Jiren Hailey. “Usually when I’m here the doors are locked, I just wait in my car, until I see one of the first employees go in, I’m like ‘door’s unlocked, my turn.’ This is the best chicken in Rochester, and probably the best chicken within the entire state of New York.”

The line goes out the door, and then at 5 p.m. it’s show time.

“The response has been outstanding,” Bierton said. “It’s been a wild ride, and I was not expecting it to go this crazy so quickly, but we’ve had fun. I knew I had a decent recipe, and I have a background in marketing and exposure, so I was just trying to take everything I knew and cram it into one model.”

And now that they’ve proved the concept, built the brand, what’s next?

“We recently taken over a space on University just down the road,” Bierton said. “So from there we’re going to be able to expand, do more pop-ups per week, we’re going to introduce a delivery and a pick up once a week, and not to say too much, but we’re going to start to Sunday sales, chicken only, trays and tenders for the rest of the football season.”

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