For anyone who has had the great pleasure of dining at Chicken Rebel‘s LoHi location, the expansion to the suburbs — drive-through and all — might seem like the next predestined step in a divine poultry plan. On Saturday, Jan. 26, Westminster’s own Shops at Walnut Creek welcomed Lydie Lovett’s second location — the only local restaurant in a sea of Panera Breads, a Jersey Mike’s and Qdoba. The concept emerged as a food truck that largely lived at Finn’s Manor before it spent some time at Avanti Denver polishing itself into what is now one of the city’s favorite haunts for fried bird.
The most obvious difference between the new location and its urban sister — which is nestled next to Mythology Distillery and is decidedly hip — is the drive-through. And while it is certainly the premiere symbol of vulgar food mechanization, Chicken Rebel hasn’t cut any corners and tastes better than ever. “Since we brine and sous vide the chicken it only needs three minutes in the fryer,” said Lovett. “We established ourselves as more of a to-go place during the pandemic,” she continued. That isn’t to say that the Westminster dining room is in any way unfriendly. Keith Haring decks from the Children’s Museum of Manhattan line the wall, and the bar — all polished wood and neon waves — is a nice place to enjoy a chicken sandwich with your beer.
The menu is largely a replica of the original, with just a few extra items popping up to satiate the suburban rush. “More so than adding items, we kind of streamlined,” said Lovett, noting that some dishes had actually been removed from the original location as the business gears up for further growth. For the uninitiated, The Buffalo ($9.50) — with blue cheese celery slaw and buffalo sauce — is a good place to start, though a more seasoned vet might go for the San Diego ($10.50) — an homage to Lovett’s last address with bacon, lettuce, American cheese and Rebel Sauce. Do not leave without a side of one of the tots, with the honey hot tots ($6.25) probably bringing the most zest.
While Chicken Rebel’s sandwiches are the most prominent, and well-deserved, draw, breakfast might be the best thing in the building. The Nashville Hot Chicken Burrit0 ($11.75) is an enormous undertaking, the colossal tortilla stuffed to the brim with eggs, tots, cheddar, Rebel Sauce and a portion of chopped fried chicken that can easily knock even the most willful enthusiast straight into a coma of food and spice. On the lighter side, there’s the chicken sausage sandwich ($6.75), a new item that can easily be wolfed down in pairs. If there’s no room left, the shakes are worth their own stop, with the Pride Fest Cake Batter Shake ($6.75) having 10% of its sales being donated to The Trevor Project.
Seeing that Lovett clearly has her ducks in a row, a Littleton store is set to join the roster in September.
Chicken Rebel is located at 10448 Town Center Dr., Westminster. It is open Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.