Holy Cluck, the Dearborn food truck making a name for itself in metro Detroit’s increasingly crowded hot chicken scene, is expanding its all-halal chicken eatery with to a new permanent home.
The brick and mortar at 25827 West Warren at Beech Daly, could open as early as next week, pending health department approval, says owner Ali Bazzi. He describes the space as industrial-modern with exposed brick and black painted ceilings. On top of an array of fiery chicken sandwiches, tenders, and loaded fries, the new location will also house the 1922 Milkshakes counter, featuring a variety of Instagrammable shakes. Among the frozen treats on the menu will be the Party Animal — topped with pink and white animal cookies and Chicken and Waffle made with, you guessed it, a crispy fried chicken tender and waffle atop a maple syrup shake.
If this all sounds over the top, that’s by design. Owner Ali Bazzi says he launched Holy Cluck around the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan kind of on a whim. He previously launched Beaver Tails Detroit, a Canadian brand featuring what he describes as flat pastries akin to elephant ears. These kinds of culinary extravagances are growing in popularity in Dearborn, in particular during Suhoor, when Muslims break fast after sunset during Ramadan.
Bazzi — who has a background working in the medical transportation industry — says he loves working in the food business so far and getting coming into work everyday to explore the next big trend.
“[I like being able to] do something that’s new and growing and giving everyone something they haven’t seen before, or maybe they have but with a different twist,” he says.
Jumping onto the hot chicken bandwagon, Bazzi says he and his small crew spent the first few months in business trying out different cooking methods to achieve the perfect balance of crunchy outer layer and moist chicken.
Bazzi uses tenders — sourced from Saad Meats in Eastern Market — instead of whole breasts for consistency. The fresh tenders are dredged in a flour base, before they’re dipped in a wet batter, and then coated in the dry component again. Diners can opt to keep it mild or pick between medium heat or “cluckin’ hot.” Instead of using a dry rub for the spicier chicken, tenders are brushed with a generous layer of fiery chili oil, and left to sit a few moments, allowing the oil to stick.
On top of the eatery’s signature Cluck sandwich with slaw, pickles and Holy Sauce, there’s a Holy Cluck Nashville hot chicken inspired sandwich, the Mac Cluckin’ with mac and cheese, and filling slides like the Coop, crinkle-cut fries loaded with nacho cheese, slaw, pickles, and three different sauces. When the new store opens, Holy Cluck will add an American “Classic” sandwich, along with hot honey butter, a barbecue sandwich, as well as grilled chicken options.
Bazzi, 31, is among a growing number of younger Lebanese Americans — who adhere to halal tradition — but who are also experimenting with food concepts that dramatically differ from the traditional shawarma shops, bakeries, and even halal burger joints that the area has been known for for generations. As a result, Dearborn has become something of a food entrepreneur’s incubator.
“I feel like I kind of stay hip with the trends and stuff and so I just look around, seeing what other people are doing but putting a twist on whatever has been trendy at the moment,” says Bazzi.