HUNTINGTON - When Black Sheep moved to its new home at Pullman Square last fall, there was a bit of speculation about the next restaurant to open at the historic 1555 3rd Ave., location. Now, the restaurateurs behind Black Sheep and Bahnhof have decided to give an upscale twist on chicken and biscuits. The new restaurant opened its doors June 1.
"We moved the Black Sheep to its new location in December," said Jeremiah Bowen, executive chef and co-owner. "Fried chicken was always something in our tunnel vision of something we wanted to do when the opportunity came about. When he had the chance to move the Black Sheep to Uno's old spot, we were given the choice between holding the lease here or giving it up. With this building being an iconic location near Marshall University, we thought it would be a loss not to do anything with it."
The new restaurant focuses on traditional Southern style fried chicken and side dishes.
"I wanted to incorporate my style of salty-sweet umani flavors into those dishes," Bowen said. "Before we opened, we completely redesigned the kitchen. Black Sheep's kitchen had been there for almost eight years, and it was time for all of that equipment to say goodbye."
Bowen said the team took this opportunity to reassess aspects of the building that were thought of as a hindrance and fix them.
"We also redesigned the back bar to incorporate some hexagonal bar shelving. We put in all new refrigeration equipment and refurbished the bar," Bowen said. "We did our best so that when you walk in, you don't see the old Black Sheep - you see a new building."
Many honeycombs are incorporated into the art and the space's design to invoke the image of a hive, which goes along with the name Honey Bones, he said.
The restaurant offers an assortment of sandwiches, including the Honey Bones Club ($10), which has fried chicken, Benton's Bacon, Duke's Mayo, Swiss cheese, sliced heirloom tomatoes and Butter Bibb Lettuce on thick-sliced bread. There's also the Huntington Hot Chicken ($9), topped with a Napa slaw and dill pickles. There are also biscuit sandwiches including The Huntingon Nasty ($9.50) with fried chicken, Southern sausage gravy, shredded white cheddar and crystal hot sauce or the Boss Hogg ($8) with homemade pork sausage, a fried egg plus blackberry jam.
"Our fried chicken is house brined all-natural, antibiotic-free, steroid-free quality chicken," Bowen said. "We have a special brine plus a breading with buttermilk and traditional seasonings."
The chicken is brined for anywhere from eight to 12 hours.
"That gives it its optimum moisture, salinity and acidity, which makes for a better fried chicken because it holds in the moisture. It's the best process for making fried chicken, which the majority of fried chicken places here don't do," Bowen said. "Once it's brined, we bread it in our seasoning mixture and pressure fry it. The difference between a pressure fryer and a regular fryer is that it is cooked under pressure so you get a nice crunchy shell. It doesn't cook out the moisture of the chicken while giving it a crunchy skin."
The restaurant also has a French-made rotisserie oven. They also offer whole chickens, half chicken and pulled chicken sandwiches. Customers can enjoy a half fried chicken (four pieces) for $10, or a whole fried chicken (eight pieces) for $19. The chicken is served with a spiced honey made with Fresno chilies. There is also rotisserie available by the half ($9) or whole ($10.)
For families, there is a Feed the Coop take-out special featuring a whole chicken (fried or rotisserie), biscuits and two pints of your choice of side.
You can also wash down your meal with a craft beer, including a selection from Charleston's Bad Shepherd Beer Co. such as The Loud IPA or How Ewe Doin? Cream Ale.
Honey Bones is located at 3rd Avenue and Hal Greer Boulevard across the street from Marshall University's Smith Hall. Summer hours are from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. There will be new hours in the fall. The plan is for the restaurant to be open seven days a week when Marshall University opens for the fall semester. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For carry-out orders, call 681-204-5944. For specials and a menu, visit https://www.facebook.com/honeybonesWV/.
NAME: Honey Bones
TYPE OF FOOD: Chicken, biscuits and beer
ADDRESS: 1555 3rd Ave., Huntington
HOURS: 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Monday and Sunday. (New hours coming this fall.)
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit cards (no checks)