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Walnut Creek Magazine

Chef Matt Horn’s Kowbird Opens in Oakland

Feb 05, 2022 03:36PM ● By Fran Miller

Kowbird, a soul-infused, family-owned fried chicken joint from barbecue phenomenon Chef Matt Horn is now open in Oakland. The second concept under the Horn Hospitality Group umbrella (following Horn Barbecue, one of only two California restaurants recognized as a Jame Beard Award finalist), pays homage to the Southern comfort food Horn enjoyed as a child.

(NOTE: The winner of the coveted "Best New Restaurant" James Beard Award will be announced during a live event on June 13, 2022 in Chicago.)

The Hot Bird

“For me, fried chicken represents soul and love,” said Horn, named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in America. “Growing up, it was a dish that would bring my family together. Whether after church or in the backyard with friends, it was always centered around love. To open a fried chicken concept in my home of Oakland is personal to me, it bridges family, love, soul, and good food.”

Located in the former Pretty Lady diner, Kowbird’s design pays tribute to the storied history of the restaurant space. Horn maintained original elements throughout, from the classic 1940s counter to the kitchen's funky green tiles, while paying homage to his roots with murals of black Southern farmers. With a nod to the classic diner, order at the register and enjoy your meal at the counter, take it to go, or in Kowbird’s sunny outdoor seating area.

Beyond the bun, the menu features a standout Chicken & Buckwheat Waffle with a puffed buckwheat waffle topped with fried chicken and honey butter and on Sundays, a Fried Catfish Sandwich. Horn's signature buttermilk fried chicken comes on a fresh potato bun accompanied by house-made pickles and decadent sauce. Variations include the Hot Bird, finished and dusted with dried, fermented chilis, which Horn describes as HOT, but not unbearable. For the vegan crowd, Horn created the Oyster Mushroom Vegan Sandwich made with crispy fried oyster mushrooms, a plant-based “aioli,” and carrot slaw. 

Side dishes include Fried Cabbage with Country Bacon, a fresh Chicory Slaw with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette & Citrus, a creamy Mac & Cheese made with Havarti, Provolone and Gouda, Fried Gizzards and Steak Fries. For dessert, bite into a Candy Apple or Salted Caramel Apple w/ Peanuts, or opt for a classic slice of Pecan Pie. The menu is rounded out with house-made lemonade and sweet tea, plus beer, root beer and cream soda all on tap.

 1733 Peralta St, Oakland, CA 94607, Open Wednesday thru Sunday, free street parking

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