It’s an exciting moment for lovers of fried chicken on the West Coast, with iconic San Diego hotspot, The Crack Shack, finally opening its first Los Angeles location. Founder Michael Rosen and his culinary team of chef Richard Blais and Culinary Director Jon Sloan are renowned for their legendary “fine casual” concept, playfully crafting up modern chicken and egg creations from high quality, locally raised chicken, and eggs from Eben-Haezer Ranch and Gone Straw Farms.
The restaurant is yet another key addition to Westfield Century City’s impressive food and beverage line up, joining popular eateries such as Eataly, Javier’s and Din Tai Fung in the massive precinct.
“We wanted to be in the LA market. We looked at so many spaces — Culver City, downtown LA, but then, when the idea of being in a mall came to us, I initially thought, ‘We’re not a mall concept’," says founder Michael Rosen. “A respected restauranteur I know said, ‘This isn’t any location, this isn’t any mall.’ We appeal to a broad demographic, and you can see that in our Little Italy location. And there’s a mix of demographics here in Century City. As a New Yorker, eating in a mall is the last thing I’d ever think of, but I think Eataly has changed a lot of peoples’ minds. They’re doing a tremendous business. LA has embraced Eataly in the mall, and it’s embraced Javier’s. And I’m hopeful LA will embrace The Crack Shack in the mall too.”
Despite physically being part of Westfield Century City, the actual restaurant is on the very outskirts of the facility, allowing it to open up their doors and use a great deal of open air space, similar to their other locations. It’s a wonderfully casual and somewhat irreverent vibe. With a rustic farmhouse feel, the 5,186 square foot restaurant seats over 170 guests, with playful nods to its Los Angeles location littered throughout the venue. In the corner stands what will no doubt be a huge hit on social media, with the dining room housing the city’s very first Moët & Chandon vending machine.
Los Angeles is no stranger to fried chicken, but chef Richard Blais assures The Daily Meal that The Crack Shack brings a rather unique spin to the classic favorite. “Conceptually, the difference for us, is that it’s not just fried chicken,” he explains. “It’s chicken and eggs. It’s chicken of the sea, if you will. It’s snacks and appetizers, and sandwiches and salads. It’s not just a chicken joint, it’s a restaurant that to celebrate chicken and eggs.”
There’s no expense spared on the restaurant’s specifically sourced ingredients, proudly using locally raised, antibiotic-free Jidori chicken. “We spend money to curate and buy better ingredients, because at the end of the day, it tastes better, and we think that people deserve that,” says the chef, who also runs San Diego’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant, Juniper and Ivy.
Chicken offerings include five and ten-piece fried chicken, sandwiches served on freshly made breads, a decadently messy Mexican poutine, as well as healthy bowls and salads. Los Angeles diners are treated to an exclusive to Century City sandwich, the Double Clucker, made with two ground chicken patties, cheddar, bacon, avocado, burger sauce, pickles and fried onions on a potato roll.
But Blais has a soft spot for a rather unusual item on a fried chicken menu, The Crack Shack’s chicken oysters. “The chicken oyster is this little dark meat piece of the bird from the small of the back, or the hip area. There’s two per bird and as law has it, the chef would roast a chicken and then save these two most succulent pieces for himself. It’s a piece of dark meat that’s really, really tender, and it’s our chicken nugget.”
“Los Angeles has one of the most thriving dining scenes in the country right now, so it was a natural fit for us to bring our brand to this market,” said founder Michael Rosen. “We’re excited to be a part of the fried chicken movement here and to bring a new experience to the table for Angelenos.”