New Restaurant Review: Side Chick

Pair the Twin Cities’ fried chicken craze with chef Justin Sutherland and you get long lines in Lyn-Lake

Fried chicken during the pandemic and Justin Sutherland since 2020: These are the two hottest things in food. They just are.

Every restaurant in town has been adding fried chicken. (People went so crazy for chicken during the pandemic there were nationwide shortages.) And Justin Sutherland is consulting on everything: The Gnome, Woodfired Cantina, food inside Allianz Field, and now at Side Chick, the first of what could become a national chain of restaurants, which is now open at Lyndale and Lake.

Side Chick is two things: a place for really good chicken and a place with a really hopping bar/party scene that befits its location near Uptown Minneapolis.

I dig the concept here. You pick your form of chicken and then pick your wet sauce or dry rub. It’s clearly built for a counter-service, Chipotle-style customized experience. And the building blocks of flavor are really tasty. For dry, the sweet and spicy was tops, and for wet, Cry Baby Craig’s hot honey was our favorite.

Side Chick’s name did stir up controversy when it was announced, as did some of the names of menu items. The restaurant says they sell sides and chicken, but it feels intentionally provocative and is perhaps just slightly more innocuous than another chicken restaurant, Hooters. You can decide if you like the name or not; just make sure you apply your feelings about the name equally to the far more provocative names being used at “Wet Tacos.”

The tenders are crispy and juicy, I loved “Legs for Days”—five drumsticks for $15—and the wings were just about perfect. Personally, I’m not offended by anything in this basket.

Same with the “Nashville Hottie” chicken sandwich. Maybe I should have expected a tempered heat, as it wasn’t called “Nashville Hot” (although isn’t a hottie hotter than hot?). Anyway, I didn’t detect much heat at all. It was either perfectly balanced out by the pickles and Duke’s Mayo, or it was canceled out by the same.

For sandwiches, you can also choose between an Island Chick, with Caribbean jerk and habanero slaw, and a No Chick, made with a spicy black bean patty. Sides were solid. We really enjoyed the cheddar biscuits, house mac and cheese complete with crumbled Ritz crackers, and the cauliflower nuggs.

Side Chick
3006 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

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