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The Coop: A New Concept In Healthy Chicken Take-Out From The Southampton Social Club Kitchen

Lee Fryd

The Coop is a new farm to table take-out eatery. (Photo: Courtesy of The Coop)

Why did the chicken lover cross the road? To get to The Coop, of course. That's the new farm to table chicken and fixin's take-out, at the Southampton Social Club. Healthy meets tasty at this ghost kitchen. Their free range chickens even grew up with their own veterinarians. It's the brainchild of Ian Duke and David Hilty, owners of the Southampton Social Club, Union Burger Bar, and Union Sushi & Steak. The usual holiday private parties aren't happening this December. Take-out is. Where was our chicken? Consider that void well-filled!

The rotisserie chicken is moist with a delicious barbecue glaze, the sweet potato fries, addicting, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, brussels sprouts and fried chicken, sublime. "To operate a ghost kitchen successfully, you need a small and simple menu," Duke explained, "so every dish has to be a home run. We wanted to take everything, across the board, to the next level. For example, restaurants usually have way too much mayo in their coleslaw. We worked very hard on ours to get it just right. It may sound silly, because it's such a little thing. But, little things are everything. The details make the difference. Big things are easy.

"There are 14 different herbs and spices in the fried chicken recipe. Chef Mark Fasciana (under the tutelage of Chef Scott Kampf) played with it for a long time," he added. The way it tasted, we wouldn't be surprised if he actually played with the farm chickens as well.

Feeling cooped up lately? These chickens were not. "They're from one of the top ten largest vertically-integrated chicken producers in America, George's Farm," Duke bragged. "They supply a broad range of quality poultry product, free of hormones, antibiotics or steroids, raised by farmers trained in animal welfare and monitored by licensed veterinarians."

Duke and Hilty are not only concerned for the welfare of their chickens and clients, but for their employees as well. The Coop will keep them working. "I've always said, I'm the least important guy in my place," Duke told us. "The managers who run the places and our entire team follow that same mantra. If tonight, you go to one of the restaurants I'm involved in and I'm not there, you're still going to have just as wonderful an experience. But if you go there and there isn't a bartender or a waitress, that's going to have a much bigger impact. It's ironic that people don't look at things that way. As far as I'm concerned, the most valuable person on my team is our dishwasher. We can't do anything without clean plates or silverware. Our employees are the lifeblood of everything that goes on in our restaurants. They know where everything is. They know how to fix things. They know what sells, what doesn't. Restauranteurs could do very well if they started with what is conceived as the bottom and look up, rather than starting at the top and looking down."

That care extends out. There's something for everyone. Trying to shave off your COVID-19 pounds? Rotisserie and organic vegetables will help. Want your comfort food? Barbecue Chicken Sandwich with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, biscuits topped with fried chicken and rich sausage gravy or the Fried Chicken Bowl - mashed potatoes, fried chicken, corn, scallions, cheddar cheese and rich gravy - will do the trick.

It's part of Duke and Hilty's big tent hospitality philosophy. "With Burger Bar, we serve high end quality meat, but also dishes for those who don't eat meat," Duke said. "The same with Union Sushi & Steak. There's a huge health component to our sushi menu, but we also offer a 24-ounce ribeye. This chicken concept follows that logic."

Burger Bar and Union Sushi & Steak will remain open, indoor and outdoor, with special ventilation and warmth components, all winter. Southampton Social Club is still open for private events. The ghost kitchen concept will enable customers to order delivery or curbside pick-up. For the latter, there are daily specials on the website. They also offer catering.

The Coop is located inside Southampton Social Club, Tuesday through Sunday, 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at 256 Elm Street, Southampton.

For more information, call 631-984-1284 or visit www.thecooptogo.com.

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