Fontana said, “I just became obsessed.” Fontana was determined to bring the unique style of fried Chicken back home. He opened three Fry the Coop locations in Oak Lawn and Elmhurst, and another in West Town.
It was the distinct flavor, that unique taste that lingers in your mind, it was impossible to get out of your head. It was its addictive flavor that attracted me to it.
Fontana, who had spent almost a hard jewelry android studio decade in punk rock bands, was unhappy with his job as a software salesman. He moved to San Diego and took a cooking class at a school to improve his skills for the new pop-ups that he wanted.
Fry the Coop Willowbrook High School
Fontana attended Willowbrook High School as well as the University of Illinois at Chicago. He had always enjoyed cooking, having watched his Sicilian grandmother prepare Italian meals for the family.
The native of Villa Park thought that a meatball-themed restaurant could help him get out of the stressful corporate job that was making his hair fall.
He went to Crack Shack, and his plan to enter the culinary industry changed. He began to experiment and created his own Nashville hot chicken sandwich.
This sandwich changed Fontana’s career and brought him home. Fontana, his wife, and their baby returned to Chicago in 2017 with their first Fry the Coop Oak Lawn.
Fry the Coop offers four types of chicken breast sandwiches: Nashville Fried Chicken (with a Vine Cole Slaw), Chicken & Cheese with two slices of American Cheese, Spicy Butter Fried Chicken, Spicy Butter Fried Chicken, and Donut Fried Chicken (donuts instead of buns). The heat level of your sandwiches can be adjusted by selecting the following spice levels: mild, medium, hot and crazy.
Executive Chef Francisco Morales created the “Lil’ Insanity” which includes ghost, habanero and Carolina Reaper peppers. Every location sells approximately 10 sandwiches per day with the “Lil’ Insanity” spices.
Fontana said that the “Lil’ Insanity” is literally a one-two, three, four and five punch in the face. It can burn your intestines. It can cause pain for 48 hours.
The chicken breasts are halal-certified (always freshly frozen, never frozen) and tenderized. They then go into a dry brine with cayenne, garlic power and onion powder for 24 hours. To seal in the juices, the chicken is breaded and then fried in beef fat twice to increase crispiness.