Milwaukee Now Has a Gourmet Chicken Tender Restaurant

Naturally, we tried everything on the menu.

There are a lot of duds in the world of fried cuts of chicken. Stringy gas station bites that are more “chicken brutal” than “chicken tender,” fast-food combo cuts greasier than John Travolta, and freezer-burnt grocery store cuisine have all given chicken tenders a less-than-stellar reputation as a low-effort or guilty pleasure meal.

Photo by Calvin Lemieux

But now, there’s a new player in the game serving up locally-sourced, gourmet chicken tenders that will challenge your poultry perceptions and leave you satisfied, yet hungering for more. That player is Cream City Cluckery.

Located in the Deer District on West Highland Avenue, Cream City Cluckery opened earlier this month to tremendous community buzz. Born out of a drive to continue utilizing the keen culinary minds at Fiserv Forum during COVID-19, the restaurant operates for pick-up and delivery only, which keeps prices low on their top-shelf product.

“Coming in, you’re not paying overhead for a restaurant that has to seat a bunch of people. We offer unbelievable product at great value,” says Justin Green, Vice President of Hospitality at Fiserv Forum.

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And we gotta say, Cream City Cluckery doesn’t chicken out on quality when it comes to their main attractions. You’re only going to find two entrees on the menu: the Chef-Crafted Chicken Sandwich and the Crispy Crafted Chicken Tenders, each a must-try sensation of texture and flavor. The breading on the tenders is crunchy yet unobtrusive, letting the premium cuts of chicken take center stage, free from the stringy or chewy bits that plague inferior tenders. The sandwich boasts the ideal bread-to-chicken ratio, with tart pickle slices and a splash of comeback sauce that add a refreshing tartness and just the right amount of heat.

When asked what goes in to making the perfect chicken tender, Executive Chef Kenneth Hardiman says perfection is in the preparation.

“The brine infuses another layer of flavor and makes sure the product is gonna stay juicy when it’s fried. That and our specially-seasoned flour blend are our double-punch.”

Photo by Calvin Lemieux

Green credits Cream City Cluckery’s fresh, never-frozen chicken, each cut meticulously pruned of chewy, inedible ligaments to ensure meaty perfection in every bite.

The new restaurant also walks the walk when it comes to its sides. Both the tenders and the sandwich come with excellent tater tots, but you can also get your chicken with a side of biscuits, crumbly yet delectably moist, buttered up and drizzled with sweet honey.

Feeling cheesy? Get the mac and cheese, smothered in melty cheese beneath a layer of crispy breadcrumbs. Save room for dessert, though, because the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is an exceptional treat for fans of the fantastically sweet. Its flaky crust and gooey filling will amaze you as it brings your meal to a dangerously sugary close. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from each butter cake sold go to charity, so wouldn’t it be selfish not to try?

Cream City Cluckery brings big competition to the chicken tender game, with a bold gourmet twist on a classic comfort food. If you want to place an order or just see what all the fuss is about, take a look around their website. Fans of choice meats at a great price won’t regret it.

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Calvin Lemieux is a Communication graduate from University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Following an internship with Milwaukee Magazine in Fall 2019 and graduation in Spring 2020, he returned to work as a freelance writer.