Fusspot is Dead! Long live Fusspot!

Dear Fusspot Friends,

It is with only a little regret that we inform you we will no longer be popping up at KitchenCru every month. What started out as a labor of love turned into a potential career and major life shift, but after much consideration, we’ve decided to put Fusspot on hiatus indefinitely.

We love frying for you. It has been an absolute joy, and we are so grateful for your support over the last couple years. As Fusspot has grown, people have urged us to open a brick and mortar restaurant. We seriously considered it. We looked at numerous spaces, met with contractors, planned an expanded menu, looked into purveyors and sourcing…And did the math. It just doesn’t add up.

Month after month, we see amazing restaurants run by professionals with much more experience than we have go in and out of business. Quite frankly, it was never our dream to open a restaurant. We started doing this for fun, and it just snowballed. But the more we run the numbers, the more we realize we aren’t willing to invest the 80+ hours per week and hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to build and operate a successful restaurant. We have nothing but respect and admiration for those of you chef/owner-operators out there who make it work, day after day, in the face of rising costs and shrinking profit margins. We salute you.

In addition, recent conversations about cultural appropriation have made us stop and think. Fusspot was born out of a lack of easily available Korean-style fried chicken in Portland. In the three years that Howard spent perfecting his recipe and the nearly two years we’ve spent serving you, the KFC landscape of Portland has changed. There are multiple Korean-owned restaurants that offer it now. We believe our fried chicken is just that: uniquely ours, built on years of experimentation and hard work.

However, we have seen how charges of cultural appropriation in food have caused serious (and sometimes business ending) public relations problems for some aspiring restaurateurs. We also recognize that cultural appropriation does real damage to POC and are uncomfortable with the idea that we could be unwittingly contributing to it. It’s an extremely complicated issue, and we don’t pretend to have all the answers. In the end, it’s just one more reason to bid farewell with gratitude and grace.

So what does this mean? We have suspended our monthly service at KitchenCru and will no longer be hosting a regular pop up. We may offer special dinners or one-off events as our schedules allow, but for now the only way to get our fried chicken is to book a private event. We do have a catering license and are willing to work with you on small-scale dinners or parties.

Thank you again, to everyone who has been a part of this amazing experience.

~The Fusspots

Fusspot Chicken News

Hello Fusspot Friends!

We’re writing to give you the latest news and share our plans for 2017.

A couple months ago we made the switch to pre-order only, and so far it has proven to be a popular decision. People don’t have to stand in line and risk us selling out. We no longer have to turn people away at the door, and it’s easier to ensure quality when we’re able to space and pace the orders this way. Win-win!

Our current schedule is 5-7p on the first Saturday of every month. We’re booking one month at a time and consistently selling out days in advance, so make sure you place your pre-orders early. Reservations for the following month open the Monday after each fry.

Many of you have asked when we’re moving into a permanent home so you can get your fried chicken fix whenever you want. After much consideration, which included looking at numerous brick and mortar spaces available around town, we’ve decided that the answer is: not anytime soon.

What started as Howard’s personal quest to perfect his favorite fried chicken recipe unexpectedly blossomed into a successful pop-up, and we absolutely love frying for you. However, we both have other careers and aren’t quite ready to become full-time (not to mention first-time!) restaurateurs.

Frankly, when you look at the potential profit margin, especially in a city as popular as Portland has become, it’s a miracle that any restaurant manages to survive the rising rents and operating costs. We’d rather fry for you once a month than not at all, so we’ve chosen to continue on indefinitely as a pop-up rather than risk bankruptcy and burnout. We have so much respect for the full-time chefs, cooks, and owner-operators who make it work on a daily basis!

This gives us the freedom to explore other options, such as collaboration dinners and catering for special events. We’ve opened discussions about fried chicken and beer tasting dinners with a couple local breweries, so expect some exciting announcements in the new year!

Finally, thank you so much for your support and patronage. It is an honor and a joy to feed you every month.

~ Howard & Tonya

Fusspot Chicken Hatches in Portland, Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fusspot Chicken Hatches This Saturday

Portland’s newest pop-up endeavor launches out of KitchenCru Culinary Incubator this Saturday, serving $12 plates of Korean-inspired fried chicken on the bone with sesame slaw and a gochujang-based spicy sauce.

Fusspot Chicken is the brainchild of New Jersey transplant Howard Kamil and Portland native Tonya Jone Miller who explains, “After living here in Portland for a few years, Howard returned to his hometown of Fort Lee, NJ, in 2011. Apparently there’s a large Korean population there now, and whenever we’d talk he’d rave about the fried chicken take-out shops popping up in the area. I didn’t know what he was talking about. At the time I’d never heard of or tasted Korean fried chicken.”

“Howard moved back to Portland in 2012 and decided he was going to try his hand at making me ‘the chicken.’ Having nothing to compare it to, I thought that very first batch was perfect.” She adds chuckling, “Though I did think the sauce could use work.”

Kamil, however, wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of that first attempt and spent the next three years fine-tuning his recipe on nights and weekends. Miller took over sauce-making duties and came up with the simple sides. After some tastings late last year for friends and family, they moved into the KitchenCru space in February 2016.

“It took a couple months for us to scale up the recipe and adjust the process to the point where we feel confident,” reveals Miller. “You just can’t rush it, which means you have to be making something good enough that people will wait for it if they have to.”

The chicken will be served takeout style in disposable containers, though there are a limited number of first-come first-serve seats at the KitchenCru chef’s counter. Beverages including beer, cider, and bubbly will be available for purchase while you wait, but alcohol must be consumed on premises.

“We’re really excited to introduce our fried chicken to the public!” Miller continues, “it’s a simple plate of food, but it’s really satisfying. And I don’t think there’s anything quite like it in Portland.”

Fusspot Chicken’s inaugural service is this Saturday, April 9th, from 5-7p “or until it’s gone.” For the time being, they are accepting cash only but hope to be able to take credit/debit cards by their next service on April 23rd.

FB: Facebook.com/fusspotchicken Twitter: @FusspotChicken IG: @FusspotChicken

Location: KitchenCru, 337 NW Broadway, Portland, OR, 97209

Parking: On street only. Please do not park in either of the KitchenCru lots!

Entrance: Come to the door off of the parking lot on the southeast corner of NW Flanders and NW Park.

Payment: Cash only! We’re working on taking cards, but for now there’s a bank with an ATM across the street.

Media Contact: info@fusspotchicken.com