Add rotisserie chicken — and a high-profile alum of Gerard Craft’s late, great Niche — to the roster of vendors at City Foundry’s food hall.
Former Niche executive chef Nate Hereford and his wife, Christine, will open Chicken Scratch, featuring rotisserie chicken, at the midtown venue.
Hereford left Niche in 2016 for a research-and-development position with a San Francisco food company. While living in California, he and Christine noticed the number of rotisserie-chicken restaurants.
“I started to try these places, and the complex simplicity of all of it really just kind of blew my mind,” he tells Off the Menu.
The couple returned to St. Louis in 2018 with the spark for what would become Chicken Scratch in tow.
The former executive chef of Cleveland-Heath and Nixta will feature dishes from Mexico's Yucatán region.
From there, Hereford says, the idea evolved into dry-brined rotisserie chicken with sauces (yogurt, a salsa verde-esque herb) and seasonal sides that draw from the “Midwestern bounty” of ingredients. Salads, bowls and specials will also be available.
Chicken Scratch will use a Rotisol rotisserie oven from France. This is the “classic” French rotisserie oven, Hereford says, like “when you envision a countryside marketplace or a farmer’s market in France (and) you see the trucks pull up, they're typically always Rotisol ovens.”
The oven’s appeal is its ease of use and how it lets Hereford focus on the flavor of the chicken.
“I was able to use one a little bit in town here,” he says. “It was kind of a great experience, and I was like, ‘Why wouldn't I do this?’”