It’s hard to know where to file Daddy’s Chicken Shack. Quick bite? Yep. Frontrunner in the fast-casual movement? Check. Immediately addictive with a sensational vegan option for those loveable but holy high maintenance vegan friends of yours, you know who you are? I had to create a new file for that.
Fortunately, this place was worth it.
Menu on the chalkboard, this petite Pasadena chicken shack is the advent of Chef Pace Webb (Taste of Pace) and entrepreneur Chris Georgalas. Sharing space with Pace’s catering company, growing from an onslaught of Chicken sandwich devotees bore from the Smorgasburg LA debut, this happy haunt behind the bricks seemed an almost inevitable next step. Some may claim an essential one.
The menu is small but telling. People come for their fried chicken sandwich fix, regular and/or the vegan variety, both which made them instantly famous on the Smorgasburg LA (DTLA’s weekly food festival) scene. Buttermilk fried, slathered in napa slaw and a tangy sriracha mayo, the BIG Daddy arrives inside a glistening brioche bun. The same can be served up bite size in the Three Little Daddy’s version. Or spicy, or popcorn size.
A bite into any of these will validate the need for a dedicated brick and mortar home where we can answer our chicken sandwich callings. But the vegan version. That Vegan Daddy. What the impossible burger did for veggie burgers, The Vegan Daddy has responded in chicken(less) form.
Coconut curry milk brined cauliflower, sambal vegan mayo, napa slaw, cilantro and mint. Served either inside a sesame seed bun, or aside some lime peanuts, in the nugget version. Nothing about this sandwich feels deprived of anything. Substitute indulgent for sacrificial, in the ways of plant-based eating, it’s next level. Side of those salty paprika sweet potato fries, forget about it. Get back to me if you feel anything less.
The day I visited I got to try out a Diet Daddy Bowl; put it on a bed of forbidden black rice, with some shitakes, red peppers, cilantro. Great.
And food this fun is incomplete without dessert. A salted miso chocolate chip cookie or a cup of Coolhaus ice cream have got you there.
The place, the feel, the food, the founders – it all generates joy. If Luis is working the register, you lucked out, he embodies the entrepreneurial goodness that’s undeniable here. Pace’s Texan touch and Chris’ (half) Asian influence combine to create something seemingly simple, but clearly not. Nothing this well done ever is. Pasadena denizens scored big on this one. And the rest of us now have one more reason to roll into the City of Roses besides football and those floats.
Daddy’s Chicken Shack, 11 W Dayton Street, Pasadena, CA 91105, USA.
Tel: +1(626) 469-0017
Dayton is a small street, keep a close eye out for it. There’s meter parking on street and surrounding neighbourhood. For now, they’re only open for lunch from 11:00am to 5:00pm.
Type of Restaurant: Fast Casual Restaurant
Price Band: Low
Insider Tip: There are a few barstools inside and one small table plus some outdoor seating. Best to plan on taking your chicken to go. There’s a great park right across the street.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.
Photographs courtesy of Daddy’s Chicken Shack