Brandy and Doug Svec are already pretty busy.
Doug is the kitchen manager at Husk and Brandy is the chef for Coastal Crust and Vintage Coffee in Mt. Pleasant. They spend hours in small spaces, prepping and cooking and overseeing operations. You'd think in their spare time they'd want to kick up their feet and forget about the fryer.
Instead, the couple, who have two kids, decided the best way to get in quality time was to cook even more. Together. "We love fried chicken!" Brandy and Doug moved to Charleston about 10 years ago from Chicago, and have a combined "35ish" years of restaurant experience. "We're more of a mobile outdoor kitchen and catering business than a food trailer," says Brandy. They had their first pop-up at Munkle Brewing Co. in April and Brandy says they're already booked through September, popping up at breweries, bars, and even a wedding. Industry connections help, but so does having some good fried birds.
When we visit the couple on a Tuesday at Container Bar downtown, we figure it's best to try a little bit of everything: a leg quarter, battered, fried, and glazed with a spicy/sweet pepper jelly; a crisper-than-crisp thigh dipped in the Svec's signature Foxy sauce; a piping hot corn fritter dipped in melty honey butter; chicken fried fingerling potatoes; and a field pea salad with roasted red pepper, celery, and Vixen sauce. Ten minutes later, only scraps of the field pea salad remain.
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After recovering from the meal — bury us in that pepper jelly — we asked the couple a few burning questions we had about Foxes Fried. The chicken isn't the standard Southern bucket variety we're accustomed to, and it doesn't fall into the "Nashville hot" hen house, either. It's crisp on the outside, almost wearing a slightly greasy shell, but is fall-off-the-bone tender once you break through. Here's what they had to say about their "signature wet-battered chicken" that "sets us apart from anything else being offered in Charleston."
City Paper: First, why the name, Foxes Fried?
Brandy: The name "Foxes" is a play on the common phrase "Fox in the henhouse," Doug and I being the foxes, obviously!
CP: Other than your own, what's your favorite fried chicken to seek out in the city?
Brandy: There's so much good fried chicken out there, and so many different styles. We, of course, love the chicken at Husk, and out in West Ashley the Glass Onion's chicken is pretty amazing.
CP: What's the best fried chicken you've ever had?
Brandy: I love the wings at Illegal Foods in Atlanta, but I guess technically that doesn't count as fried chicken!
Doug: Bud's Fried Chicken in Florida, where my dad used to take me as a kid.
CP: What's the best drink to pair with fried chicken?
Brandy: Either a cold PBR or grower Champagne, whichever is more handy when the chicken is hot.
CP: Do you hope that Foxes Fried will one day be your main gig, or is it just a fun passion project?
Brandy: We're taking it slow and seeing where Foxes goes. Of course we would love to become world famous for our chicken and do that all the time! Only time will tell.
CP: How has your work in kitchens prepared you for this pop-up endeavor?
Brandy: Working in various on-site catering settings over the past 10 years has given me a distinct sense for how a tightly staffed (just us!) event needs to run.
Doug: My time spent at Hominy Grill taught me that people don't want their food reinvented for them on a daily basis. Sometimes you just have to give them what they want. In our case, good, no-frills fried chicken. OK, some frills.
Find Foxes Fried at the Container Bar every Tuesday evening in May starting at 4 p.m. and follow them online at foxesfried.com