When Donald Adams and Paolo Campbell went to culinary school together at Seattle Central College 10 years ago, Campbell always brought a sketchbook to class where he jotted down business ideas for the future restaurant they knew they wanted. open together. After graduation, they went their separate ways, with Campbell cooking at Revel, then Opus Co., and Adams working as a sous chef and executive chef at Ethan Stowell’s restaurants. But Campbell still sent Adams new business ideas at least once a year.
Sometimes it was something offbeat like, “Man, we’re gonna make hot sauce,” an idea that never came to fruition. But most of the time it was some form of fried chicken – a food that Campbell has always loved for its flavor and simplicity.
Then last fall Opus Co. of Greenwood closed and Campbell was given the opportunity to reclaim the space; meanwhile, Adams was on a break from work to spend time with her one-year-old. The stars aligned: Campbell texted Adams and said, “Okay man, this is really happening.” They decided to open a restaurant together, much like the ideas they had sown at school.
The Chicken Supply opened in October in the former Opus Co. space and has sold out nearly every night since, normally at 7 p.m., with pre-orders often closing at 1 p.m. That’s partly because Adams and Campbell limit the amount of chicken they fry in one night (the dream was a restaurant where they could go home with enough time and energy to spend time with their young children and where the staff would not burn themselves out for long hours). It may also be due to the way the gluten-free batter on gluten-free soy-marinated chicken — wings, drumsticks, thighs, or 10-inch-long cylinders of breast meat on sticks — crackles under your teeth with the satisfying, puffy texture of Rice Krispies, or how the spiciness of vegetable side dishes complements the fat of fried birds.
Campbell says his restaurant’s fried chicken is Filipino (he’s Filipino American and spent time in the Philippines as a child, and although Adams doesn’t know it when he met Campbell, an uncle’s DNA test halfway through culinary school revealed that he, too, is part-Filipino.) But what, exactly, is Filipino fried chicken?
Campbell generally says Southeast Asian chicken has a lighter, crispier batter than American fried chicken, although he wrote his own recipe based on knowledge he picked up in Seattle restaurants. . First, he marinates the meat with soy sauce, lemons and garlic. Then he brushes it with an egg white before dusting it with a mixture of rice, tapioca and potato flours with spices and tossing it in the fryer. Unlike Hawaiian chicken mochiko, whose thin, crispy texture is achieved with a simple dusting of rice flour, or kaarage, whose cracked but often structurally weak crust is made only from potato flour, Adams says the combination of the three flours and the egg wash forms a crust that crackles while maintaining structural integrity. The chicken itself is sourced from Draper Valley Farms in Skagit County, the best chicken Campbell says he can buy without running into constant supply issues.
Vegetable side dishes are also Filipino dishes with twists. Pancit, for example, is served cold instead of hot (to better accompany the steaming chicken) and is made with separately marinated celery, marinated tomatoes and pan-fried cabbage. “Normally you would cook everything together and do the thing and it would still be really dope,” Campbell says. And for laing, a Filipino green dish braised in coconut milk, he replaces traditional taro leaves with sturdier collard greens.
Other accompaniments to accompany the chicken include a dish of eggplant, peppers and cipollini onions marinated in soy sauce, black vinegar and licorice star anise, the tangy sauce of which can be poured over grilled garlic rice. Although the menu will evolve over time, Campbell says it will remain 100% gluten-free to accommodate her friends with celiac disease.
The couple could soon add another member of staff and start frying a little more chicken every day; Currently, the store has two employees who earn $25 an hour and have 100% of their health benefits paid for by the company.
The Chicken Supply will likely open its small dining room soon, where diners can watch staff beat and fry the birds behind the counter (it’s currently take-out only after a brief dining period in October), and Campbell hopes to build streetside restaurants as the days get sunnier. For now, however, Campbell and Adams are happy to run their dream restaurant and go home every night with their kids.