It’s a drizzly Saturday morning in Summerhill, and Will Silbernagel is standing under a tent, frying chicken thighs. Under the canopy is a makeshift kitchen where Silbernagel — in a tan cap, mask and vinyl gloves — puts together a simple menu of chicken sandwiches and nuggets.
Inside the building, Greg Best, a legendary Atlanta mixologist and Silbernagel’s business partner, is calling out orders and bagging food. This is my first experience at How Crispy Express, a pop-up camping out at its future home on Georgia Avenue in the Summerhill neighborhood.
Silbernagel pitched his How Crispy idea to Best a little over three years ago. In late 2019, they staged their first pop-up at Halfway Crooks Beer, with plans to open a quick-serve chicken shack across the street in May of 2020. “Then COVID hit, and our investors ran for the hills,” Silbernagel said.
As the pandemic unfolded, the pop-up format evolved. Silbernagel moved his makeshift kitchen to the second floor of Halfway Crooks. Using a rope and a plastic bucket, orders were lowered through a window to the waiting crowd. “It was wildly popular, and people loved it, and it was totally like a play on social distancing,” he said.
The pop-up has been so successful that the project has regained its footing, and its funding. The owners now hope to open their space by July or August.
Until then, customers have two hours on Saturday mornings to try Silbernagel’s breakfast sandwich with whipped honey butter; original Classic Crispy with lettuce, bread-and-butter pickles and herb-flecked mayo; and six-packs of nuggets with honey mustard. One breakfast sandwich comes on a French-toast-dipped bun.
Preorders open Fridays at 10 am for Saturday 10 am – noon pick up at 71-B Georgia Ave.
Order here: https://www.toasttab.com/how-crispy/v3
By Wendell Brock for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution;
Photo by Morganne Lee