Chicken Scratch, Tim Byres' New Chicken-and-Tetherball Joint, Opened in Oak Cliff Yesterday

Categories: First Look

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Catherine Downes
Chef Tim Byres, chef and owner of upscale meat palace Smoke and the latest recipient of Food & Wine's People's Best New Chef award, opened his new fast-casual chicken joint on Monday at Pittman and Fort Worth Avenue in North Oak Cliff.

Chicken Scratch is a small, corrugated-metal-and-glass building right next door to new bar The Foundry, which opened a couple months ago in the building that used to be Jack's Backyard. Chicken Scratch and The Foundry share a huge courtyard located in a sort of compound that looks like the home base of a local-seasonal hipster cult, if such a thing existed (and I'm not so sure it doesn't).

There's a garden area where various herbs and vegetables are just beginning to sprout, and the courtyard is littered with picnic tables, with more seating sheltered from the elements inside old shipping containers. There's a tetherball court and hopscotch for the kids (or drunk adults), a hammock, and a stage built of wooden pallets, plus a cactus garden. There were a ton of kids running around already today, and I imagine this place will be absolutely swarmed with families come summer. Luckily, for those of us less tolerant of tiny humans, you can get your grub and take it over to the bar.

Chicken Scratch's interior is charmingly rustic -- lots of shiny red paint, vintage couches and even a wooden swing. The chalkboard menu is simple and homestyle: chicken, either skillet fried or rotisseried, the usual array of side dishes (collards, mashed potatoes, fries, mac and cheese, biscuits), a couple light appetizer options (hummus, quinoa salad), plus delicious-looking housemade popsicles in a variety of fruit flavors. There's a few scratch-made sauce options for your chicken, too: red tomatillo, gravy, buttermilk ranch, and a tasty oregano-vinegar honey. Beverage options are limited to a basic soda fountain and pitchers of iced tea & water, but The Foundry's got plenty of draft and bottle options, plus a full selection of liquor.

Prices are reasonable, with dinner for two coming in at around twenty bucks. Make no mistake, this is not fast food; chicken is fried up in cast iron skillets rather than deep fryers (a method that's becoming harder to find these days in restaurants since it takes more time and attention), and it's made to order to expect a bit of a wait.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of crowds gather here, especially as warm weather approaches; it's really a one of a kind setting that seems tailor-made for large gatherings and parties. Scroll for more photos.

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Photos by Catherine Downes

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Location Info

Chicken Scratch

2303 Pittman St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant


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47 comments
oak cliff athlete
oak cliff athlete

you guys need a menu option that's less than 4000 calories....  let's talk chicken sandwich and side of grilled veggies.  also, more healthy sides like grilled vegetables, mixed fruit, maybe some wheat pasta salad, somewhere i can eat every day instead of once a month.  what a great space and atmosphere though!  the bar is great, the yard and alcoved tables are fantastic.  by far the best outdoor setting in dallas.  just need more options on food choices to fill the place out.  c'mon, just rotisserie or fried chicken?  give me something i can eat where don't need to stick my hand in my mouth to dig a bone out.  also, what about brisket and ribs?  any good 'picnic' should have a little sliced cow going on.  

Whoscookingforkacey
Whoscookingforkacey

Whitney, thanks for the blog post. I was so inspired (by yourself and Tim Byres) I headed out to try Chicken Scratch for myself. I absolutely loved it and felt inspired to write a little something myself. Thanks for the inspiration! To read my blog post, it's just a click away http://whoscookingforkacey.com...

Thanks, Kacey

Spencer332000
Spencer332000

I know it is a chicken place but any chance for some vegan options?

dallasphotog
dallasphotog

We'll be there.  I can't wait to try it out. 

ulysses godinez
ulysses godinez

whats funny for me is that i looked at the picture with the containers and automatically knew where it was... my dads shop the the one right next to it on the right with all the eighteen wheelers. im there every weekend working on the trucks and would always see this place full of people in the evening ( when it was jacks i believe). At least now i know they are a restaurant so im going to have to hit it up after i change some tires on the trucks. in fact ill be there today working then ill hit up to get me some chicken!

Chicken Little
Chicken Little

This is one of the best comment threads I've read in a while. I'm going to try it this weekend just based on some of the asinine comments on this thread.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

so much depends

upon

a red wheelbarrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the whitechickens.

Perry Hairy
Perry Hairy

I will try while in the spring months and fall months but come summer unless they have swamp coolers, misters and fans, this will be stifling. 

TryItFirst
TryItFirst

The place is great. I have been two days in a row and the food is fantastic. The decor and ambiance is charming. Try it. It is crave worthy. Bravo Chicken Scratch.

To the whine-o about dogs: get over it. It's Oak Cliff. To the whine-o about originality: You're an idiot. To the whine-o about not being greeted in the courtyard: what did you expect? employees to run out with open arms while you stand IN THE COURTYARD, literally? is that the experience you've had in the past? Restaurant employees running into the parking lot to hold your hand walking in? ridiculous. To the whine-o about photography: give it a rest. You just had to find something to complain about. Leave that kind of crap on facebook or twitter where it belongs. I love the photographs, and my parents are professional photographers, so I'd like to think I have a mediocre standard of quality. To the whine-o chicken coop guy (you're name is all too familiar as the guy who constantly complains about every new place opening): 2 words: health hazard. and you have obviously never lived,worked,or spent more than 10minutes near a chicken coop. They are miserably loud and horrendously smelly 100% of the time.

Stop the complaining and start trying the food before you rant. It is a restaurant, after all.

New users/readers: READ THIS: The food is great, the ambiance is friendly, fresh, and charming. The sauces are heavenly. The sides hot and tasty. The prices fair. Try it and see for yourself.

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

More cool would be a place that has it's own chicken coops (with heritage birds), and diners could pick out their bird of choice !

Heatherette
Heatherette

Things I enjoy about this place:  the outdoors stage made of crates; the seasoning on the roasted chicken (YUM), the swing in the dining room (cute), and the outdoor ambiance.  Some say it feels like Austin.  I think it feels more like Marfa, Texas.  Great job guys.

Bootrally5thofsoco
Bootrally5thofsoco

So it's Lee Harvey's that sells chicken? Can anyone do anything original, anymore?

ENB
ENB

Address?  Am I missing it?

Beda
Beda

I was there around 1:30 yesterday and the place was empty.  Are they not open for lunch?

TM
TM

I can't remember the last time I saw even a decent quality photograph from the Observer. I know it's not necessarily the writers/bloggers' fault b/c they're writers. But damn, there are plenty of photographers probably roaming around this town for cheap. It's just so craptastic.

Anyway, I am excited about Chicken Scrath, been looking forward to it for months b/c I freakin' love chicken. Roasted or fried.

Mitch
Mitch

Who is doing your photography? Is that a finger in front of the lens?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

This is the type of place Dallas needs more of(outdoor beer garden-style). Congrats to Chef Tim, I know i'll be visiting there soon :)

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

Is this place dog friendly (off leash) ???

Nancy
Nancy

So sorry for the delayed response. We do offer several vegan options including our Quinoa and Chunky Vegatable salad (homemade, gluten free dressings) and Lettuce Sprouts and Tofu salad. Please come in and give them a try!

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

And the Whinner of the Week award goes to TryItFirst.........

Beerme
Beerme

don't worry, once yelp gets ahold of this place, some silly whiners on this site will be meaningless.

Mervis
Mervis

Seems like the pictures were changed after the comments were posted.

LesliO
LesliO

Thank you!  Well said.

DaTruth
DaTruth

And kill it yourself?

Beda
Beda

I've been to the location when it was Jack's.  You park, you walk in the main courtyard; most people sit outside.  Wait staff are there to greet you. I repeated that sequence at Chicken Scratch.  Coming from the area where a lot of people park, you are directed to the courtyard itself and not into the restaurant portion. 

Don't wonder too much about how I tie my shoes in the morning, I do just fine.

Coleman
Coleman

 It's Lee Harvey's that sells chicken and isn't skeezy and has decent bartenders and better beer in a different neighborhood. So yeah, I guess it's exactly like Lee Harvey's. jesus christ.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Please tell me you're trying to make a funny.

Kate
Kate

2303 Pittman Street (Pittman & Commerce)

Christopher Jeffers
Christopher Jeffers

Chicken Scratch is open from 11-2 and 4-10 right nowThe Foundry opens at 4 pm to 2 am.Yesterday was our first day open and we chose not to shoot off fireworks, but more ease into it.  Hope you enjoyed the meal.

dallasphotog
dallasphotog

 What's wrong with these photos?  It's a freaking blog!  I think they're fine.  We are talking about a chicken joint...not a 7-course at the Mansion.

Get over it!

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

That is totally a finger, as that picture was taken one-handed with an iPhone out the window of a moving vehicle. This is a blog, guys.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

 I'm not a dog lover and I don't like dogs or cats around my food.  Please remind the pet owners to keep their pets tethered to their tables.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Off-leash is for your backyard and dog parks. That's it. 

Beda
Beda

We didn't eat.  There was someone working on the pallets and there were a couple people sitting off to the side (I couldn't even see their faces).  We stood in the courtyard and no one greated us and there were no other people in sight and no other visible activity.

funguy123
funguy123

sounds like a person problem... 

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

Then we won't be seeing  you at LH I guess.

dallasphotog
dallasphotog

 Oh my!  I haven't been greeted at a casual chicken joint where you sit outside!  Go to back to eat as someplace fancy like Olive Garden or Applebees.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Hint; it's not Jack's anymore.  When in Rome....

Beda
Beda

I've been to the location when it was Jack's. You park, you walk in the main courtyard; most people sit outside. Wait staff are there to greet you. I repeated that sequence at Chicken Scratch. Coming from the area where a lot of people park, you are directed to the courtyard itself and not into the restaurant portion.

Don't wonder too much about how I tie my shoes in the morning, I do just fine.

Guest
Guest

...if you're that confused by the setup at Foundry/Chicken Scratch, I seriously wonder how you manage to tie your shoes in the morning.

Christopher Jeffers
Christopher Jeffers

Understood.  Well next time walk on in to the door marked Chicken Scratch and you will be greeted with the wonderful smell of chicken or just shoot me an email to let me know your coming and I'll try to be there to greet you myself.  chriswjeffers@gmail.com

primi timpano
primi timpano

 I would rather sit next to a leashed dog than a child, leashed or unleashed.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

 That doesn't make sense.  Did you mean to say "personal problem"?

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