Courtesy photos

The team from Holy Cow BBQ is expanding the farm and launched Rooster’s Chicken House, a new concept specializing in fried chicken.

The “cloud concept,” as owner Rob Serritella describes it, can currently be ordered through DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub for take-out, delivery and to-go.

Serritella and staff first introduced their fried chicken to customers five years ago.

“It did so well, we thought it could operate as an alternate brand,” he said, detailing how the group originally thought they would open a Rooster’s Chicken House location and allow it to operate independently. But a shift in the restaurant industry — both prior to and during COVID — prompted Rooster’s to adapt and eventually settle inside of Serritella’s Holy Cow BBQ establishments.

“Rooster has its own identity. It also has some crossovers with Holy Cow,” Serritella said. “We use the same people. We use the facilities. We use some of the same packaging but marketing and branding are all independent.”

Rooster’s Chicken House is only in its first week of operation but three locations have sprung up in Southern California already in areas like Santa Monica, West Los Angeles and Culver City. And, according to Serritella, another one is planned to open this month in El Segundo.

“Seven or eight years ago when I started doing (research and development) for barbecue, I went all over the country. And besides learning pork, brisket, tri-tip and all the different ribs, we learned a lot about chicken. We thought chickens probably aren’t right for us this minute. But we saw how chicken was made in the south,” and picked up the best ways to make chicken so it could be done right when it was brought it to Holy Cow, Serritella said. “Through trial and error, we figured out a two-step process to take chicken and cook it faster while keeping it juicy and tender but also crunchy… so you get the best of both worlds.”

Serritella knows Southern Californians like variety though so he’s also included signature sandwiches, salads and desserts on the menu as well.

It’s hard work keeping up with the demand, especially during Labor Day weekend, but the former accountant said he is happy his employees have been allowed to continue serving up the goods when so many other businesses have been forced to shutter in recent months.

“I started from the bottom and opened my first concept about nine years ago now,” Serritella said. “I’ve opened about 13 more since then and Roosters’s is one of them… Holy Cow has been blessed with a lot of customers who are loyal and BBQ seems to be a very good cuisine to feature during COVID because it’s family-friendly. And we’re finding that fried chicken kind of the same thing so the future is looking pretty hopeful.”

The restaurant world is very different now, Serritella added. “COVID changed everything but we put our foot on the gas and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ So, it’s an exciting time. We’re rolling with the punches like you have to and we’re just excited to tell people about Rooster’s because we know the food speaks for itself.”

Holy Cow BBQ / Rooster’s Chicken, 264 26th St. (310) 883-6269, holycowbbq.com, roosterschickenhouse.com.

Brennon@smdp.com