Miami-based chef Michael Lewis is making his Toronto restaurant debut by tapping into two of the city’s biggest pandemic dining trends: fried chicken sandwiches and ghost kitchens. This weekend, the chef is set to launch two delivery-only concepts, Chikin and Laid Fresh, in partnership with REEF Neighbourhood Kitchens, a North American ghost kitchen provider.
Lewis cut his teeth at Michelin-starred restaurant Jean-Georges in New York City, going on to open global restaurants for its chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and later for the Zuma restaurant group.
First launched in Montreal, Chikin takes a cue from one of the most popular menu items at Lewis’s James Beard Award-nominated Miami restaurant Kyu. “Korean Fried Chicken exploded in popularity in Miami, becoming a hugely hot item,” said chef Lewis in a press release. “This possibility for expansion in Canada and testing recipes in different markets is very exciting for us. It gives us the chance to be creative and really concentrate on what we do – giving people quality, comfort food they love and flavour they crave.”
Menu highlights at Chikin include the Hot Mess sandwich, which features Korean-inspired fried chicken layered with housemade hot sauce, blue cheese, napa slaw and yuzu pickles; and Fully Loaded Waffle Fries topped with Cheese Whiz and bacon bits. There’s also a veggie-friendly version of the fried chicken sandwich made with a crispy cauliflower steak.
Lewis will also launch Laid Fresh, a new all-day breakfast-style concept centred on egg sandwiches, such as the Soft Scrambled made with free-range scrambled eggs, avocado and brie. Diners also have the option to have any sandwich filling served in a better-for-you bowl form with greens instead of a bun.
Chikin and Laid Fresh will launch on Friday, Feb. 26. Both will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. and will be available through Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes.