Ryan and I went to Penny Red’s on a whim on Labor Day. We had just gotten back from a trip to Chicago, during which I had the now infamous Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich.
Ryan actually surprised me with the trip here since he’s very anti-fried foods (as you probably know if you read his bio), but he decided to take me here since I was on a chicken sandwich kick and it was one of the few decent spots open on holiday.
Penny Red’s opened up back in March 2019 and is located in the Shinola Hotel. The restaurant itself is just a walk-up counter, with the seating area located in the newly established Brakeman, a beer hall that serves its beverages using “tokens.”
The menu is small, offering only buckets of fried chicken with one type of breading (5, 10, and 20 pieces), 3 different chicken sandwiches (The Classic, The K-Town Cutlet, and The Dirty Coup), biscuits (drenched in honey glaze that you can opt out of…but why would you??), and 5 other side options. Drinks are served in the Brakeman.
What We Got
Ryan was sort of right when he assumed I was on a chicken sandwich kick, but my kryptonite is, by far, fried chicken (thighs, of course!) and biscuits.
Dirty Coup: Red Slaw, Shallots, BaconBombs.com
So on top of the chicken sandwich (we got the Dirty Coup), we also got a 5 piece bucket of chicken and 2 biscuits: one with honey glaze and one without. We also tried all the sauces. The one that Ryan used most was dubbed “The Joy and Pain Hot Sauce.”
5 Piece Bucket of Chicken
Honey Butter Biscuits: One dunked, and one dry (for those that don’t have a sweet tooth)
We loved the fact that there was a bar directly connected to it with awesome beer choices, making it a great and ideal hang out spot.
My issue with chicken sandwiches is that many places tend to make them dry and bland. The Dirty Coup, however, was juicy and damn good. I loved how the breading blended well with the slaw and shallots, creating a flavor-balanced sandwich. Which, speaking of, the breading itself was delightful–it wasn’t over-breaded and over-seasoned, nor was it bland. The breading did not overpower the chicken and thus allowed the flavor of the chicken to shine.
My only wish is that they served the chicken in those delicious biscuits instead of a regular bun. The honey biscuits were, by far, my favorite part of the meal.
As for the chicken bucket? You get the most bang for your buck ($10 chicken sandwich vs 5 pieces for $13).
If I had to pick the sandwich over the bucket, I would pick the bucket. Again, I’m absolutely in love with the breading and seasoning–the fried chicken was not over-breaded nor over-seasoned–and it still maintained the juiciness I enjoy in fried chicken. I can do without the sauces, but I don’t usually put sauces in my fried chicken anyway (aside from ketchup).
Penny Red’s is a spot that I would love to take my friends to on a (late) night out–good food, good vibes, and overall awesome atmosphere.
Penny Red’s Buckets and Biscuits
1445 Farmer St | Detroit, MI 48226
M – TH: 4:00PM – 11:00PM
F: 4:00PM – 1:00AM
Sa: 12:00PM – 1:00AM
Su: 12:00PM – 11:00PM