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DeeLuxe Chicken, Scott Howell’s new fried chicken joint, has an opening date

Fast-casual fried chicken joint DeeLuxe Chicken opens Wednesday in Durham.
Fast-casual fried chicken joint DeeLuxe Chicken opens Wednesday in Durham. DeeLuxe Chicken

DeeLuxe Chicken, a new fast-casual chicken joint with a fine dining pedigree, will open Sept. 12 on Broad Street in the former Oval Park Grille space.

The new counter-service spot specializes in the fried arts and is owned by chefs Scott Howell and Rick Robinson, who first met nearly 30 years ago working together at Durham’s Magnolia Grill.

The menu is built around fried chicken, of course, with dark and light quarters served with a side. The menu also includes grilled chicken and tenders.

Things on a bun include a chicken sandwich not dissimilar from the one served at a certain closed-on-Sundays spot, plus one dressed with apple and celery root slaw and a spicy mayo. Out of the ordinary sandwiches include a rare ahi tuna steak with slaw and a portobello-cap burger.

With North Carolina being one of the fried seafood hotbeds, DeeLuxe has carved out a spot for the bounty of the sea, frying up oysters shrimp and catfish baskets.

DeeLuxe is home to a noted crinkle-cut fry evangelist — that’s Robinson — so you’ll find those on the menu of sides, along with spicy cucumbers, an unapologetic Velveeta mac and cheese, chili baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad and sweet potato fries.

DeeLuxe was announced in June, about nine months after Oval Park Grille closed in Durham. It’s been unofficially christened “NanaChicken” on social media, borrowing the counter-service system from the popular NanaTaco. Instead of a salsa bar, there’s a sauce bar with about a dozen concoctions to add to chicken and sandwiches, including Peruvian green sauce, Alabama white sauce and a spicy dip barbecue sauce.

The new spot keeps most of the bar from Oval Park Grille, but pares it down to beer and wine. The draft list skews mostly towards North Carolina brews, kicking off with Fullsteam, Green Man out of Asheville, Sierra Nevada and others. The wine list is limited, but includes bubbly, one of the great fried chicken pairings.

The restaurant is at 1116 Broad St.

For 26 years, Durham chef Scott Howell lived his dream of owning and running a restaurant, the acclaimed fine dining Nana's. At the end of the month, Howell, an eight-time James Beard Award semifinalist, says he will close his flagship restaurant.

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