What's the vibe?
While this is first of three locations to open under the Union Chicken name, don't let that or the fact that it's attached to a mall fool you: it's the real deal when it comes to chicken. First off, all poultry is organically sourced from a local Ontario farm. Second, the team behind it share a combined history of working in top Toronto kitchens including The Carbon Bar, Splendido, Nota Bene and Grand Electric. Third, and most importantly, the chicken tastes damn delicious. The space itself, which includes 80 seats and roll-up garage door access to a summer patio, would fit in equally well on King West as it does in Etobicoke. The atmosphere is casual (complete with a take-out counter) and the little ones are most certainly welcome. It is in a mall, after all.
What to drink?
A short cocktail list includes twists on classics like their Lavender Mule and Bon 'Apple Tea' using Woodford Reserve, apple syrup and black tea. Draft beer comes courtesy of Goose Island and Mill Street with a further selection of local bottles available and wine from Henry of Pelham is available on tap by the glass, 1/2 litre and bottle. There's also an impressive selection of sans-booze options including craft sodas from Ottawa's Harvey & Verns, cold brew coffee from the Propeller team and a fresh fruit juices that rotate daily.
What to eat?
Here, you'll find chicken any size and style you want it. Rotisserie chicken is served as a whole, half or quarter order depending on appetites. If fried is your bag, there's the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with maple syrup gravy and the Fried Chicken sandwich on a milk bun topped with an in-house ranch sauce. But, the standout dish is not even on the menu: Uncle Ray's Lightning Chicken (ie. their Fried Chicken on acid) will blow your socks off, or at least have you running for another pint of beer to cool down. Marinated chicken thigh is doused in spicy chicken fat and habanero sauce, deep fried and served on top of a slice of bread. It's fire – and not in the slang way people are saying to describe something that is, ironically, cool, but in the way that it's freakin' hot. There are plenty of sides on offer to complement the chicken, with our favourites including the crispy Brussels Sprouts and Mikey's Southern Coleslaw. Be sure to grab a bottle of their homemade Piri Piri sauce on the way out. It puts another – ahem – popular one to shame.
Dinner and drinks for two (note: they are also open for breakfast and lunch): about $80
25 The West Mall, Sherway Gardens, 647-341-1900, unionchicken.com