There’s no end in sight to the fried-chicken wars. Last year, we saw the opening of Two Birds, Slapfish founder and chef Andrew Gruel’s Jidori fried chicken concept at Trade in Irvine. That was followed by Wingman at 4th Street Market, specializing in fried chicken wings; Rojo’s Hot Chicken, a one-time pop-up at Irenia; Rooster Republic, which serves classic Southern fried chicken at McFadden Public Market; and the Balboa Island brick-and-mortar iteration of Free Range’s LA-based luxe lonchera.
And now comes Crack Shack. The San Diego-based chain debuted its Costa Mesa location in November, which fills up every day despite local competitors. Its full bar is a welcome sight when trying to wash down a Coop Deville, Crack Shack’s signature, gigantic fried-chicken sandwich. We recommend pairing your bird with a 17th & Orange.
New Amsterdam gin is blended with honey, lime, cinnamon, grapefruit juice and blood orange to create a colorful, savory and refreshing cocktail. This delicious, citrus-y drink cuts any guilt you may have after demolishing one of Crack Shack’s behemoth plates.
Crack Shack, 196 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 383-5040; www.crackshack.com.