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Restaurants

Luther's Chicken

Posted by Anders Whist / Reviewed on May 5, 2014 / review policy

luthers chicken torontoLuther's Chicken recently opened for business inside Dundas West hangout Churchill, dishing out delicious fried chicken inside a small concession stand located within the bar. If you're interested in chilling at Churchill and grabbing a drumstick, though, you'd better hurry. Given how good the food is, it's only a matter of time until Luther's follows the Caplansky's path and strikes out on its own.

Co-owners Kyle Hough and Knickoy Robinson (Luther is, alas, fictional) knew the folks at Churchill, and decided to take advantage of Churchill's underused kitchen by starting up their own place. The result is Luther's Chicken, which serves up chicken, biscuits, gravy, sides and other traditional southern fare.

luthers chicken torontoThe buttermilk fried chicken ($13 large meal/$7 small meal/$38 8-piece bucket meal) is, understandably, the star of the show. The bird bits are brined for 24 hours, breaded with a buttermilk batter, and deep-fried to crispy perfection. The crunchy and flavourful crust is a perfect contrast to the almost impossibly juicy and moist chicken hidden within. Beyond texture, though, this is just good-quality chicken, with real depth of flavour and a meaty, lasting aftertaste - assuming you can stop eating long enough to enjoy it.

luthers chicken torontoIf you prefer to keep your hands clean you can always try the chicken sandwich ($8, Wednesday only), which includes lettuce, tomato, pickles and a mayo-based sauce with fried chicken on a nice roll. It's a good sandwich - in no small part to the chicken. But given the quality of the fowl it's almost a waste to adulterate it with the other ingredients, no matter how good they are.

luthers chicken torontoLuther's even offers an option for vegetarians, though perhaps not those of the health-conscious variety. Popcorn "chicken" tofu ($11 for a meal) is a pretty reasonable approximation of the deep-fried experience, with firm - but not hard - blocks of tofu enveloped by the tasty buttermilk breading. The tofu isn't as exciting as the chicken, a natural limitation, but the dish is about as good as it gets in the chicken-fried vegetarian department.

luthers chicken torontoSides at Luther's receive the same thought and care as the chicken, and meals fortunately come with two of them ($3-4 on their own), as well as a buttermilk and green onion biscuit ($2). The biscuits are more fluffy than flaky, with bits of green onion adding a bit of zing to the tender and delicious soft buttermilk biscuit. Macaroni salad, zipped up with a slight oniony bite, is another winner.

Smoked ham collard greens are another excellent offering, as the nutty, warm greens meld with the meaty ham to create a rich, flavourful pairing. Skip the less adventurous green beans, though - they are, like everything else, perfectly cooked, but the other offerings are better. French fries ($3/$5) are more than serviceable, thin and dense rather than thick and fluffy, and elevated when paired with the rich, herb-y chicken gravy ($2).

luthers chicken torontoWhile the space in Churchill is very attractive, be forewarned: The bar isn't exactly bursting with room, and tables were lacking on our visit (a Raptors game had something to do with that, to be fair). Fortunately, takeout from Luther's is an option for those that can't wait, though you are - of course - best served by eating the fried food as quickly as possible.

luthers chicken torontoYou can sit at the bar with a pint while you wait and salivate, though; the chicken does takes a bit of time to come out, hot and fresh and cooked from scratch as it is. Be prepared to wait longer once the word starts to spread - this is seriously good chicken.

luthers chicken torontoLuther's Chicken is open 5 pm-1 am Wednesday-Sunday. Photographs by Eric Whist and Anders Whist. Yell at Anders on Twitter.

Discussion

11 Comments

ohp / May 5, 2014 at 01:46 am
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"breaded with a buttermilk batter"

Batter and breading are two different things.

Their Toonie Thursdays are a much better deal than the similar "Toonie" special at KFC considering the quality of their ingredients.
kioch / May 5, 2014 at 09:56 am
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The portion looks small in the giant box they have...
lister / May 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm
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So for those that have gone, how does the chicken compare to Stockyards? I'm not a fried chicken fan and generally don't eat it very often but Stockyards is damn good.
Tyler Spilner / May 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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This is literally the best fried chicken I've ever had, and I lived in the Southern U.S. for 6 months...
Foghorn Leghorn / May 5, 2014 at 01:03 pm
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Re: kioch. I think the pic you're referring to was a shot of the fried tofu option. The first pic with actual chicken shows a more reasonable portion size. In my opinion at least.
Anders / May 5, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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You don't really see the meals laid out as they would be in the restaurant since we got a bunch of stuff for takeout and they put everything in the boxes together, but the meals come with 2 sides and the biscuit, and for the Chicken meal you can add a 3rd piece (as seen in the box) for an extra $2 bucks. The Tofu could be considered a bit skimpy I suppose, and the sides aren't huge, but for the quality of the food I think what you get/cost is very reasonable - we got two meals and a sandwich and it comfortably fed three people (for $40)

I liked this much better than the Stockyards, FWIW. One of the two best pieces of fried chicken I've ever had (other place was Columbia, SC, across from the football stadium)
chik'a'filla / May 5, 2014 at 03:04 pm
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Aweseom chicken and sides, corn, fries and coleslaw were my favourite.
Go earlier then later if you're going just to eat as it gets quite busy with patrons just drinking, but on the up side you can feed them like seagulls

Better then stockyards!
nb / May 5, 2014 at 06:28 pm
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Whats with the shotglass size sides? Is this a fried chicken joint or a medical laboratory?
John / July 5, 2014 at 08:32 pm
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Just had a few beer and chicken dinner watching the world cup. While I am a huge Stockyards fan the chicken was better. The coating was delicious. The chicken was juicy and the coleslaw side was great. The meal was a little skimpy on the fries but it was friggin good. All in all I will be back whe I need my fryer fix!

By the way the bisuits were way better than my wife's gramma's
r / July 19, 2014 at 07:51 pm
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I think the chicken is so-so. It tends to be slightly under-cooked at times. Churchill is a fun neighbourhood place. The staff has changed over, and now the new servers are rude and too cool. It's just a small neighbourhood bar and a chicken stall - why the attitude?
Selly / August 27, 2014 at 10:26 pm
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First visit to night. the staff was down to earth. it felt like being back home.ordered 2 meals got a lot to chose from. the chicken was ammmmazing it fell off the bones. Kyle n Knickoy came out and greeted the guest even after a very long day. I had a great time, fully equipped bar go with an your mind cleared n your stomach empty. i got home an hour later n my food was still hot recommend this little hide away spot to anyone that enjoys good food.

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