BB’s Crispy Chicken in Raleigh opened by Ashley Christensen
It took 2,000 tries and almost four years, but Ashley Christensen thinks she landed on the perfect chicken sandwich.
Now the world can taste it for itself.
BB’s Crispy Chicken opens Saturday, October 30 at 11 a.m. in Raleigh’s Midtown East development on Wake Forest Road, joining the collection of new stores and restaurants in the shadow of the Wegmans.
Here’s everything you need to know about the hottest chicken sandwich in town.
What is BB’s Crispy Chicken?
This is Christensen’s first quick and easy going business and first restaurant outside of downtown Raleigh. Poole’s Diner and Death & Taxes James Beard Award-winning chef has partnered with MDO Holdings to create BB’s.
Chicken sandwiches have become the food world’s most competitive item in recent years, following a frenzy triggered by fast food chains. Christensen joins the fray, promising an “insanely crispy” sandwich made to keep its crunch even after driving home.
Soggy chicken was a problem even before the pandemic, but with the need for take out in recent months, Christensen said BB needs to nail down the crisp it promises on his behalf.
“We’ve thought a lot about when families pick this up and bring it home,” Christensen said. “How do we make sure it’s still crunchy and delicious if they eat it an hour or an hour and a half later.”
What is on the menu?
BB’s shares a connection to Christensen’s popular downtown Raleigh restaurant, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, but it’s a very different chicken sandwich. Compared to the Beasley’s thigh, the BB’s sandwich is a boneless brisket, brined and tossed into a wet batter before being fried.
To burn or not to burn is the central question of BB’s menu, where four of the nine sammies are topped with increasingly tangy hot sauces. Five take the cool out, topped with options like chili cheese, barbecue sauce, shredded lettuce and mayonnaise or just a few thick pickles. There are also salads, wraps, and grilled chicken if you don’t feel fried.
Beyond chicken, any sandwich can be made with a fried, lightly marinated green tomato on top. Christensen said a vegan option is still in development.
Beyond sandwiches, BB’s calls its version of chicken fillets “Dunkers”. These thin pieces of chicken have been breaded in gluten-free panko and are eaten like chicken cutlet strips.
The sides are sweet potato waffle fries, salt fries, dill pickled coleslaw, fried cheese curds and a plate of fries topped with liquid cheese.
Desserts include chocolate and vanilla milkshakes, as well as a seasonal choice. For now, it’s pumpkin.
The five most intriguing BB sauces
There are 13 house sauces on the BB menu, from classic buttermilk ranch to “Scorpion Red Fire,” the hottest sauce in the house. Hot sauces bypass North Carolina’s Texas Pete, instead using Louisiana’s Tabasco for the base heat.
Here are the flagship sauces:
Sweet and sour mango: Fried chicken loves sweet and sour sauces, and this one packs a tangy punch. It’s sweet but not cloying and delivers on its fruity promise.
Hot Honey: This trendy condiment is starting to go well with ketchup and mustard on many restaurant tables. This mixes Tabasco buffalo sauce and honey, ending with a tingling instead of a burn.
Southwest Ranch: Double the ranch, double the fun. BB’s Buttermilk Ranch is proven, a herbal hug for Dunkers and fries and everything in between. The southwest, however, offers more spice than expected, as well as deeper smoke.
Warm white buffalo: Think of it like a white Alabama barbecue sauce mixed with buffalo. Here, Duke’s mayonnaise is topped with a little Tabasco Scorpion pepper sauce and becomes BB’s second hottest and tastiest hot sauce.
Fire Red Scorpion: For heat lovers, this is BB’s hottest sauce, made with the same Tabasco Scorpion as the previous sauce, but with more, more chili sauce and a little agave for sweetness. This hot sauce unexpectedly teases the fruitiness of the peppers, but it also brings warmth. It’s not as hot as the Ghost Pepper Chili Oil at Beasley’s, but it’s hot.
The pandemic has made ordering online second nature. BB’s is launching an app for diners to order online, and it has large shelves for picking up take out orders. Diners can also dine on site and bypass the counter by sitting down and ordering with a QR code on the table. The meal will be out when it’s ready.
More BB on the way
The Raleigh Restaurant is located at 2920 Sherman Oak Place, Unit 140, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Beyond the Raleigh location, BB’s will be opening two more Triangle locations early next year. The next to open will be at Durham’s University Hill, followed by Cary’s Parkside Commons.
Those locations will open by March, MDO Chairman Doug Warf said, possibly sooner depending on equipment arrivals.
BB’s is already looking beyond the Triangle, with possible future locations in the Triad, Wilmington and Charlotte, and even outside of North Carolina in Richmond.
Order of Christensen
If Christensen ordered from BB, she said she would stay basic.
“I always struggle with favorites, but I love the basic fried chicken and pickles,” Christensen said. “I would throw some mayonnaise on mine. Second, I would say the fried green tomatoes with chili cheese.
This story was originally published October 27, 2021 9:07 pm.