The Avanti Food & Beverage stall that once housed American Grind and its burgers now hosts Chicken Rebel, chef/owner Lydie Lovett's indoor operation based on her popular food truck of the same name that specializes in fried chicken.
"It's nostalgic food taken up a notch," says the busy chef on June 7, as she works the Chicken Rebel counter on opening day. "I also added salads to try and offer something healthy."
Fans of Chicken Rebel, which parks daily at Finn's Manor (2927 Larimer Street), will be happy to know that the fried chicken sandwiches and gourmet loaded tots remain unchanged, even as the menu shows a few additions. The aforementioned salads included fried green tomato over mixed greens with roasted corn, rebel sauce, pickled onion and goat cheese, as well as the fried chicken chopped salad with bacon, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, buttermilk ranch and fried chicken, of course.
On the sandwich side, Lovett added the Rebel, a new model featuring pimento cheese and bourbon bacon jam. There's another tots option, too, with Hatch green chile, chipotle creme and cheese. Fair warning: An order of these golden beauties will surely work as a side dish for at least two hungry people.
Lovett, who hails from San Diego, launched the original Chicken Rebel food truck two years ago. Her initial idea was to buy a food truck in Colorado, then take it home. But after a Westword write-up garnered enough fan fare, she decided to forgo that plan and remain in in the Denver area with her family. Now Lovett not only has the Avanti spot, but she's planning to launch a brick-and-mortar shop next to Mythology Distillery in LoHi at the end of summer.
What makes Chicken Rebel's chicken so darn good? It starts with brining the bird, then throwing it into the sous-vide circulator before dipping the breast into a homemade beer batter. The whole mess is then fried to pure perfection before Lovett adds whatever spice you order, whether Nashville hot, buffalo sauce or buttermilk ranch. Finally, the fried chicken lands on an Aspen Baking Co. brioche bun with all the accoutrements.
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Aside from the basic menu, the Avanti Chicken Rebel also offers a Little Rebels menu for kids, with tots, chicken nuggets and chicken and waffles.
For vegetarians, the Chick N is a great option, Lovett says; it can be made vegan, too. "It tastes a lot like the fried chicken," she adds, explaining that the spiced beer batter is what gives it that unique flavor. The same batter coats the tangy fried pickles and the green tomatoes on the salad.
Before it flies the coop in September, you can visit Chicken Rebel at Avanti (3200 Pecos Street) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.