There seems to be no shortage of fried chicken in Texas (or fried food in general). It appears on nearly every menu, from fast food restaurants, to upscale spots serving it on decorative China.
At Chicken Scratch and the attached bar, The Foundry, they keep things simple and casual. From the menu items to the utensils and lighting, they avoid doing anything in excess. Designed by Stash Design, the three acre lot that the restaurant, bar and patio occupy is kept as eco-friendly as possible.
Before picking up on all of the small details in the place, you’ll probably first notice the sweeping structure at the back of the lot—a performance stage fabricated entirely of reclaimed pallet wood.
During construction, Gary Bucker of Stash Design was continually ordering more wood for it—in the end, it took approximately 500 pallets to complete the structure. For Gary, the goal is always to combine creativity and sustainability. When the weather’s nice, the outdoor space becomes the go-to place to catch a live show (with a beer from The Foundry in hand).
Chris Zeffers, co-owner of the restaurant (and a few of our other favorite spots, Bolsa and Smoke), chatted with us about how the restaurant-bar-venue concept came to be.
Just north of the Oak Cliff neighborhood, the space is, “in the ‘hood, off the grid,” as Chris said. If it’s within the ‘hood, it’s one that we wouldn’t mind spending many leisurely afternoons in. The rustic space filled with picnic tables and dotted with hanging lights feels like an oasis away from the skyscrapers of downtown Dallas.
It was once a rundown bar with a bad reputation, but Chris and his business partners didn’t want to rebuild it entirely from the ground up. They wanted it to maintain it’s “rough around the edges” character, while also sticking to their budget. Chris said they wanted something that would be, “cool, ’cause we’re also broke.”
Much of the original structure remains, but was enhanced by the Stash Design touch. A light fixture fabricated of colorful storage crates hangs from the restaurant ceiling, and large shipping containers outside serve as barriers to enclose the space and create small seating areas for guests.
The “slow fast food” menu is served on recycled aluminum pie tins, selected because they’re eco-friendly, easy to clean and can’t be broken when carried out into the patio.
Even though you simply order at the counter, it’s not the kind of grab and go place that serves meals without care. The chicken is all locally sourced and hormone-free, served with garden fresh and hand made sides.
A couple of words of advice for your visit to the restaurant: arrive hungry, sample everything, mix hot sauce and honey for your fried chicken (a concoction introduced to us by Gary) and save room for a fresh fruit popsicle.
Also, be sure to say hello to one of the cats visiting from the neighboring trailer park and take a photo as a couple of chickens!
Photos by Collin Hughes