How a Hollywood Comedy Venue Evolved Into a Nashville-Style Fried Chicken Shop

Poultrygram’s Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

If you’ve eaten at a comedy club, it was probably more about satiating hunger or making sure the two-drink minimum doesn’t inebriate you rather than any sort of foodie experience. Poultrygram, a new to-go chicken spot at the Hollywood Improv, subverts that notion with its take on the Nashville hot chicken sandwich.

Before Covid shut down live entertainment for who-knows-how-long, The Improv hired Executive Chef Geno Fontanoza (formerly with Katsuya, the L’Ermitage Hotel, and the Wynn Hotels in Las Vegas) to overhaul its menus. “Even before we shut down, we were trying to raise the bar for comedy club food,” Chef Geno told me. “We don’t want to be associated with places that let food fall by the wayside.”

With doors shuttered to comedy patrons (“We were brainstorming how we could use our kitchens”), Chef Geno and The Improv’s owners found a creative way to stay in business: offer food to go — and so, Poultrygram was born.

Poultrygram’s menu is brief — who needs an extensive menu when it’s this well-edited? You’ll find two chicken sandwiches (original or Nashville Hot), spicy wings, chicken tenders, fries, coleslaw, pickles, and cinnamon-cayenne snickerdoodles. Every item is made from scratch.

The Nashville Hot chicken sandwich is slathered with Red Rooster aioli, coleslaw, house sweet and spicy pickle relish on a toasted brioche bun, while the chicken batter is composed of buttermilk and 12 herbs and spices. It adds up to a symphony of flavor, texture, and crunch that was still hot and crispy after a 30-minute drive. “The secret is double dredging the chicken to keep the crunch,” shared Chef Geno. “People have told me it holds up even an hour later.”

Chef Geno Fontanoza. Photo courtesy of Levity Live.

The sandwich pairs well with the tangy pickles (flavored with peppercorn, juniper berries, and crushed bay leaves), crisp house coleslaw, and thick-cut seasoned fries served with ketchup that’s been enhanced with habanero hot sauce, cayenne and a touch of agave.

You can order Poultrygram for window pickup or via Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates. Located at 8162 Melrose Avenue, Poultrygram is open seven days a week. More information.

Karin E. Baker

About Karin E. Baker

Karin E. Baker is a native Angeleno who loves the eateries, history, nature, architecture, and art of her hometown. When not exploring poke shacks in Kona, tascas in Córdoba, and konditoris in Malmö, she writes about food, culture, lifestyle and travel. She obsesses over comma usage and classic films and is always happy to find an excuse to open a bottle of champagne.
This entry was posted in Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply