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First Bites: Big J’s Chicken Shack

August 29, 2016

Every summer, it seems like there is always one restaurant that I’m anticipating the most. For months, I’ve heard talk about a fried chicken shack coming to Thompson’s Point. Well, it’s finally open and worth the wait. Here’s what to expect from Big J’s Chicken Shack!

big j's chicken and wafflesChicken & Waffles with Portland sauce, whipped butter and maple syrup

If you’re going to go to J’s Chicken, be prepared to make a mess. At least, that’s the experience I had ordering the chicken and waffles, with the 2nd hottest sauce, the Portland. The dish comes out in a to go container, piled high with 2 pieces of spicy chicken and a waffle at the bottom. You can order it either with tenders, or half and half if you want 2 different pieces of chicken, which is what I got. When I say spicy, I mean it’s definitely going to clear out your sinuses, at a minimum. The Portland is hot, but not too hot to handle.

Apparently, if you want that, try the Nashville sauce, which they serve to you while wearing gloves to protect their hands. The chicken is extremely crispy, which is an absolute must for chicken and waffles, at least in my book. Even after the fried part of the chicken wasn’t on, it stayed crispy, instead of getting soggy. I was a little surprised by that, because I thought for sure the syrup that I had drowned my waffle and chicken in would make it soggy. I was wrong.  You don’t necessarily need the butter or the syrup because the chicken is cooked to perfection, tender and flavorful. However, adding the butter and syrup to the waffle does cut the heat a little bit, and brings a more nuanced flavor profile as well. I think that you may want to invest in a bib to eat this, because things will get messy! But it’s a delicious mess that you’ll want to eat again and again.

big j's chicken shack tijuana street corn

Tijuana Street Corn

I didn’t really know what to expect when we ordered the street corn, but I love it. The half cobs of corn come out smoky and covered in butter and herbs. If you’re ordering the hot fried chicken on the menu, the street corn is a really nice way to cool down your mouth, and still chow down. The sweetness of the corn with the heat of the chicken made this my favorite side that I tried.

Mac n Cheese

Even though I’m lactose intolerant, I still indulge in mac n cheese every once in a while. As good mac n cheese should be, it’s creamy and comfort food at its finest. This was another dish that allowed me to recover a little from the heat attack on my tongue. If you’re a mac n cheese lover, try theirs!

big j's chicken shack composite

Bottom Line:

Overall, I’m already a fan of the first restaurant at Thompson’s Point, and I’m excited to go back for more fried chicken. You might need to wait a little while to order, and to get your food, but it’s completely worth it. If you want the full experience, make sure to order some sides and bring a change of clothes! In case you haven’t heard, it’s a BYOB establishment, so you have to bring your own booze. Being conveniently located next to Bissell Brothers with a takeout window means it’s really easy to eat fried chicken and drink great beer at the same time.

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Sarah

Hey there! My name is Sarah and I’m a local food blogger eating and drinking my way around Portland’s incredible food scene. Follow me to stay up to date on the hottest spots in our foodie city!
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