What is it about fried chicken sandwich shops that makes them a lightning rod for controversy?
A little under two months ago, Leghorn Chicken opened in Ukrainian Village. Though the owners have never said it overtly, several things about it—the Sunday hours, the free condoms at the counter and donations made to gay rights organizations, to name a few—are an obvious middle finger to a certain chicken-centric chain restaurant that shall remain unnamed.
Lines were out the door the opening weekend, but not everyone's reaction has been crispy and golden brown. The restaurant has encountered criticism recently—not for its food, but for the soundtrack. Leghorn sticks to an all-rap format (a frequently updated playlist programmed by the owners), a move that has ruffled feathers amongst local foodies. Commenters and reviewers have said everything from "It made for an uncomfortable dining experience," to " Not really a place to take your toddlers," to "Just plain stupid."
I get it. You don't want little Aidyn (we should discuss your insane choice of spelling, but not right now) to be forever altered by hearing "U Owe Me" by Nas. Other than that, what's the big deal? In order to get to the bottom of the story, I made my way over to Leghorn. (Also, I was pretty damn hungry.)
I caught myself hitting a two-step while waiting in line. After expressing my pleasure with the selection to the friendly counter attendant, she smiled enthusiastically and immediately mentioned the indignation that I had come to learn more about. "A lot of people have been complaining about the music," she said. "Who doesn't like Wu-Tang?" Who doesn't indeed?
During a handful of visits over the course of a week, I heard the following songs:
"Mathematics" –Mos Def
"New God Flow" – Kanye West featuring Pusha T and Ghostface Killah
"The Number Song" – DJ Shadow
Izzo (H.O.V.A.) – Jay Z
"Ms. Fat Booty" – Mos Def
"Dirt Off Your Shoulder" – Jay Z
"Hola' Hovito" – Jay Z
I'm a rap fan. It's awesome to hear a spot play the kind of music I enjoy in a non-weekend dance party setting. I know that people all over the city feel the same way I do, and here's hoping that this will inspire other spots to move in that direction. But no matter what side of this debate you lie on, there are a few things that need to be addressed:
-Leghorn's owners have an apparent affinity for East Coast rap; 7 of the 8 songs I heard either starred or featured an artist from New York City. How about some regional diversity? Can we get some UGK in there? What, Leghorn ain't got no love for Snoop Dogg and Death Row?
-Not a fan of listening to rap music while you eat? Take advantage of the BYOB policy. Get boozy to the point where they could be broadcasting the chickens being cooked alive and it wouldn't bother you.
-Love listening to rap while you eat? Take advantage of the BYOB policy. I brought a bottle of champagne and ended up getting so hyped that I almost got on the table like Puff Daddy in the "Hate Me Now" video.
Lastly, if a restaurant's music angers you to the point where you have to complain on an online forum about it, consider getting surgery to remove the stick from your butt. It's just chicken. Get a biscuit and get with it.
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