Fried chicken fans have a delicious new option in Oakland, as rising star chef Matt Horn expands his footprint with a comfort food favorite. Horn, which launched smoked-meat staple Horn BBQ in 2020, is opening a second restaurant today called Kowbird, specializing in fried chicken sandwiches. The location is 1733 Peralta Street in West Oakland, formerly home to the Pretty Lady Diner, within walking distance of Horn BBQ.
Horn retained some of the space’s original design elements, like the U-shaped counter that dates back to the 1940s, to create his retro chicken shack.
Photo credit: Kowbird
The menu at Kowbird is simple but comprehensive. There are four choices of fried chicken sandwiches, including the Southern Bird, which they call ‘the original.’ It has homemade pickles and ‘bird gravy’ on a potato roll. The Honey Bird features a pickled honey mustard seed sauce, the Hot Bird is sprinkled with dried chilies, and the Early Bird features southern-style sauce and a fried egg. “To me, fried chicken represents soul and love. Growing up, it was a dish that would bring my family together. Whether after church or in the backyard with friends, he always focused on love. Opening a fried chicken concept in my Oakland home is personal to me, bringing family, love, soul and good food together,” Horn said in a statement.
Photo credit: Kowbird
You can also get the chicken and buckwheat waffles or a plate of wings and fries. A fried catfish sandwich is available in two options, but only on Sundays. There is also a vegan sandwich option with fried oyster mushrooms. The menu also includes 3 sides including mac and cheese, fried cabbage with all the fixings, and fries. There is also a selection of tarts or a candied apple for dessert. Another element that stands out is the selection of drinks. You can get beer, root beer, and cream soda on tap. Eventually, Horn says that he will set up an apiary in the restaurant to create his own honey.
Much like Horn BBQ over the past year, Kowbird is almost guaranteed to develop a loyal following quickly. Matt Horn has also been a rising star in the culinary and grilling arenas, earning Food & Wine’s Best New Chef honors last year, as well as a special nod from the folks at James Beard, and is expected to launch a cookbook this spring. You can try Kowbird Wednesday and Thursday from 11am to 7pm and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 8pm