Roaming Rooster, a local leader in the market for fried chicken sandwiches, has opened a new takeout operation on U Street NW that will be sure to spawn long lines of loyal customers.
The popular, Ethiopian-owned food truck’s second standalone store celebrates its grand opening on Wednesday, September 30. Formerly an outpost of Takorean, the restaurant space sits below the Ellington apartments (1301 U Street NW).
Since rolling out its first truck in 2015, Roaming Rooster has added three more trucks and opened a kitchen a couple blocks away from a Popeyes in Woodridge. Earlier this month, Roaming Rooster received a lot of love in Washington City Paper’s annual Best Of issue, taking first place in reader polls for Best Fried Chicken, Best Sandwich, and Best Food Truck.
Co-founder Michael Habtemariam said Friday that the new shop planned to host some “soft opening” shifts over the weekend to train staff.
Habtemariam refers to the brand’s second standalone restaurant as a pop-up, because the company has finished construction on the kitchen but has yet to renovate a seating area for customers. The U Street shop will stick with to-go service for now, with online ordering available for pickups and deliveries available through Uber Eats and Postmates. From Wednesday through Friday on the first week, Roaming Rooster will disperse a $20 gift certificate every hour it’s open (11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily).
Habtemariam says the U Street outpost will carry the group’s entire menu on U Street. That includes free-range chicken sandwiches in five flavors — plain, Buffalo, honey butter, Nashville hot, and a bacon ranch club — as well as wings, tenders, salads, and fries. Roaming Rooster plans to add milkshakes at some point, and has experimented with breakfast sandwiches. Neither are part of the menu just yet.
“We’re pretty busy with the sandwiches right now, and we just want to keep it nice until everything has settled down,” Habtemariam says.
Roaming Rooster plans to open a third outpost, at the forthcoming Western Market food hall in Foggy Bottom, early next year.