Remember more innocent times when Popeyes’ fried chicken sandwich dominated our psyche? Last summer’s crispy chicken obsession gave way to one of our favorite feel good food stories of the year when Twitter user Bri Hall tweeted about DC’s family-owned fried chicken shop, Roaming Rooster:
While Popeyes is cool and all if you live in the DMV area you should check out Roaming Rooster in DC. It’s Black owned, and the founder Mike is Ethiopian born. He grew the family business from a food truck and has always been kind pic.twitter.com/kxS40kETlc
— Grandzaddy Bri 👽 Smartistabeauty (@BriHallOfficial) August 26, 2019
The tweet went viral and customers flocked to the restaurant on Blandesburg Road and four food trucks to try the massive sandwiches, which quickly became the must-have fried chicken in the District (Hall got free sandos for life). Now Roaming Rooster is expanding to a second storefront, launching as an indefinite pop-up on U Street in The Ellington development.
Sandwiches run the heat spectrum from mild to medium and hot. Roaming Rooster’s most popular patty— and co-founder Michael Habtemariam’s favorite—is sweet and savory buttermilk-battered chicken brushed with ambrosia honey butter. The menu also features a trendy Nashville hot chicken sandwich with pickles and crunchy, herb-filled coleslaw. (The slaw can be ordered as a side dish, along with hand cut fries and cooling iced tea). The same free-range, halal chicken can also be ordered as wings, chicken tenders, and salads. “Our chicken is always made with love — there’s a love to it,” says Habtemariam.
Roaming Rooster is also opening a location in Western Market Food Hall, slated for early 2021.
Roaming Rooster. 1301 U St., NW. Open Monday to Sunday from 11 AM to 10 PM.