Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
If you’ve never been to South St. Paul, here’s an easy excuse—a charming independent fried chicken restaurant called The Coop. It’s the epitome of a neighborhood joint, tricked out in vintage signs and, on our visit at least, humming with energy.
The Coop’s style of fry is both unusual and, we would argue, really good. The coating on the chicken is delicate, light, and relatively flat, a slim-fitting crispy jacket that lets the moist, perfectly seasoned meat shine with full force. Most fried chicken places put their effort into an elaborately crunchy, sometimes over-flavored spice-bomb coating. The Coop’s style, however, is far more laid-back and minimalist, and the resulting fried chicken is a perfect vehicle for hot sauce (or other toppings) if diners want to go that route.
If you’re planning to chicken it up at The Coop, call ahead—orders take around 20 minutes to prepare. And while your bucket can be ordered with potatoes (fries, wedge potatoes, mashed, mini hashbrowns) and rolls if you want to get a family-style bucket, the chicken’s the thing. (A family-style eight-piece bucket is nearly $10 more than a chicken-only order which—trust us—is a lot of tasty food.)
P.S. If you’re a fan of Coneys, we think the snappy, balanced, minimalist, and economical ($3.50!) version at The Coop is one of the best we’ve encountered.
THE DISH: Eight-Piece Chicken Bucket (chicken only), $13.75
THE PLACE: The Coop, 157 3rd Ave. South, South St. Paul, MN, 55075
THE REASON: Minimalist coating lets the perfectly marinated and seasoned chicken meat steal the show.