Chattanooga Now Restaurant review: Spices, skee-ball steal the show at Henpecked

Chattanooga Now Restaurant review: Spices, skee-ball steal the show at Henpecked

June 8th, 2017 by Brandi Dixon in Chattnow Dining

The three chicken tender plate served with Henpecked sauce, pepper jack mac and cheese and collard greens.

Photo by Brandi Dixon /Times Free Press.

Fried chicken, spicy Southern sides, super-sweet milkshakes and skee-ball make up the dream team for Chef David Story of Henpecked: A Chicken Joint. The chain has now found its home at 405 Market St. near Jack's Alley in downtown Chattanooga.

Henpecked's ideal downtown location and curb appeal is very inviting, and when I heard skee-ball was part of the equation, too, I was only too happy to offer my services for this review.

THE SPACE

A bright red, eye-catching storefront and quaint outdoor patio welcome you as you step into Henpecked. There's one main dining area with tables that can seat two to four people (totaling around 60 guests) that can be combined for seating larger groups, along with a bar in the center complete with televisions to catch all your favorite sports and an aisle space that offers booth seating to add a few more bodies.

If you go

› Where: Henpecked: A Chicken Joint, 405 Market Street

› Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends

› Price range: $8 appetizers to $12 half bird

› Alcohol: Yes

› For more information: henpeckedchicken.com or 423-710-1951

At the end of said aisle space is the skee-ball area, which sadly only offered two lanes at the time of my visit, both of which were occupied. While I didn't get to play and get the full "joint" ambiance, I appreciated watching the other diners who were thoroughly enjoying their games. The décor in the restaurant keeps up with a casual diner style splashed with lots of the black and red Henpecked signature colors along with some contemporary design touches like pendant light fixtures.

THE FOOD

Henpecked's menu is centered around "Sober Chicken, Drunken Milkshakes," and categories include chicken plates, Sandwiches and Sides and, of course, sauces (because what's spicy fried chicken without the right sauce).

Chicken plates range from one-quarter or half birds, both light and dark meat, to chicken tenders or smoked wings all with a choice of two sides and your pick of sauce. Prices go from $8-$12.

Sandwiches include The Thigh, Tender Samme, made with chicken tenders, Smoked Chicken Salad, a Chicken Wrap and The Coop, which is one of the more adventurous and kickin' items on the menu with a fried thigh, jalapeno bacon, pimento cheese, Henpecked sauce and pickles priced at $10. Most sandwich options stay in the $9-$10 range.

Henpecked's sauces, which can be paired with any and all of the menu entrees, include the Henpecked signature sauce, which is a creamy combination of spices; BBQ, made in house with Dr Pepper and spices; Jalapeno Honey; Honey Mustard; Chipotle BBQ, which is the same house BBQ combined with chipotle peppers; and for the wing lovers, Buffalo Classic Wing sauce and Henpecked's own take on Nashville Hot sauce.

THE ORDER

As previously stated, the menu is centered on Henpecked's slogan of "Sober Chicken, Drunken Milkshakes," so I figured my order should include the same. I decided to go for the three chicken tender plate with pepper jack mac and cheese and collard greens for the two sides and a chocolate milkshake, to be sure not to leave anything out, and selected Henpecked's signature sauce for the chicken, again making sure to sample anything trademark and unique to the restaurant.

The milkshake completely delivered. It was a thick and rich custard-based cream with the chocolate syrup made in-house. I wouldn't describe it as "drunken," but definitely delicious.

The chicken tenders were very large and heavily breaded with spices that paired well with the Henpecked sauce. If you enjoy a good Nashville hot-style chicken, this will be the dish for you. The pepper-jack mac and cheese started out more jack than pepper, but once I found the flavors it was fantastic. The collard greens also packed a spicy and flavorful punch, but were just a tad overcooked and more wilty than I cared for, so I mostly committed to the chicken and shake.

THE SERVICE

The service here is sort of a combination platter all its own. When I entered, I headed straight for the counter to order and then seat myself, as that's what the layout of the restaurant dictates should happen.

However, after I sat down to wait for my food, I noticed other parties entering, seating themselves and then servers coming over to wait on them that way, which may be the better way to go for consistency. One server brought me my meal, another checked on me later to see if I needed a new drink, and still a third came by before I left to see if I needed a take-out box. All were friendly and fast, but it got a little confusing and wasn't very personable.

THE VERDICT

I'll definitely head back to Henpecked for another visit. First of all, I didn't even get to play skee-ball; this must be remedied. Second, I want to go for one of the sandwiches or maybe even some chicken and waffles paired with another sauce or side to get a better feel of all the offerings.

Contact Brandi Dixon at bdixon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6709.