Interview with Tony Street of Dallas’ Street’s Fine Chicken: Chicken Has Never Been So Fine

Contributor
Street is raising the bar for the Dallas fried chicken game
Chef Tony Street

Tony Street

Chef Street began cooking professionally at age 17. 

If you think chicken is chicken is chicken, you haven’t been to Street’s Fine Chicken in Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood. They call it “the Southern chicken house,” and rightly so, because the folks there have perfected all things chicken (and, well, all things Southern) in the culinary sphere. And chicken is just the tip of the wing: the menu morphs and changes with old favorites standing by and new ones crafted from secret family recipes being added as the seasons change, with surprises like a double cut pork chop slow roasted with a Calvados apple butter, and meatloaf covered in a sweet glaze made with tomato, molasses, bourbon and a hint of sriracha.

Whose family, you ask? Chef Tony Street. Texas born, Street is the chef and owner of Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse and chef and partner at Street’s Fine Chicken. Restaurants run in Street’s blood and he learned from one of the best, his uncle, Texas restaurant legend Gene Street. As a kid, Tony cooked chicken fried steaks at Gene’s Black-Eyed Pea restaurant. From there, nothing could stop Tony.

He was seventeen years old when he helped to open Antigua Restaurant in Acapulco, Mexico. Many years later, he worked as kitchen manager at London’s Texas Embassy Cantina Restaurant. He trained with French chefs at the only five-star restaurant in Fort Worth at the time and made his way up to chef. He even worked as the back of the house corporate trainer for a major restaurant group in Texas. In other words, he was made for this.

We sat down with Street and chatted about all things good to eat.

The Daily Meal: What do you think it is about fried chicken that causes so many people to have such an incredibly strong attachment to it?

Chef Tony Street: It’s a textural thing. Everyone loves the crispy texture, and you get to pick it up.

From where did your love of all things culinary develop?

From my grandfather, Snookie.

What would you say is your overarching food philosophy?

Enjoying good food is one thing that the entire universe has in common. If you want to learn about a culture, start with its cuisine.

How would you describe the vibe at Street’s Fine Chicken?

Extremely friendly. The customers are like family.

Can you tell readers a bit about the inspiration behind your menus and what you are hoping to achieve with their offerings?

My grandparents, Nanny and Snookie, made fried chicken dinners every Sunday of my childhood and I remember how happy it made everyone and brought the family together. My goal is to make my customers as happy as Nanny and Snookie made our family.

What do guests tell you they love the most about the restaurant, the menu, and the food?

I hear a lot “best fried chicken ever” and “I love the wall of chickens.”

What are some of your personal favorite menu items?

The Sin Killer Chicken is a recipe I worked on for a really long time. The marinade has almost 30 ingredients including fresh fruits, herbs, and chilies. Another is the roasted and toasted half chicken. For this dish we bought state of the art, highest quality equipment and we have a secret method of serving the skin crispy.

You do a lot of classic cooking with classic ingredients. But do you have some favorite ingredients and/or cooking styles to experiment with right now?

I love smoking items and using them as ingredients in dishes. I like using molasses to sweeten things up.

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