Would You Spend $41 For A Bucket Of Fried Chicken?

by Yesha Callahan


He’s my favorite drummer, DJ and also my favorite member of The Roots. I’ve even hung out at his house for his annual Super Bowl get together, so when I heard about Questlove’s new pop up restaurant, I was pretty excited because he’s an amazing cook.

On May 18, Questlove and restaurateur Stephen Starr will debut their chicken and dumplings stand in New York City’s Chelsea Market, called Hybird. Hybird’s menu boasts fried chicken, cupcakes and a beverage called Loveslush.

Yay, right? Everyone loves fried chicken, cupcakes and slushies?

But then I took a look at the prices:

123 Hybird Menu Final 10MAY by Eater NY

$41 for a bucket of chicken? In the words of several of my friends, “Where they do that at?”

I know math, so I understood if 1 piece is $4 and a bucket has 12 pieces,  $41 is actually a discount.  But who are these people willing to pay $41 for chicken? So maybe everyone isn’t going to run out and buy buckets, and will end up buying single pieces for $4, but still, I can get a whole chicken from Safeway for $2 extra dollars.

Since we both follow each other on Twitter, I figured I’d ask him myself:


Well he told me.

Clutchettes & Dudes, would you pay $41 for a bucket of fried chicken?

  • Chacha1

    Um, no. Those are prices for another type of person. I could feed my family of four for two nights with 41 dollars.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    That’s those hipster prices, like what I call tourist/capitol hill/ hipster prices here in the good District, they know what they doing.

  • Mademoiselle

    That’s almost my entire week’s grocery bill. I’ll pass, but I’ll take a free sample.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    Is Chelsea Market a high end area? I hope so; otherwise, his idea seems ridiculous if he intends on being in a low end market.

    I don’t eat chicken but I am sure a packet of chicken at the grocery store is less expensive than a 12 piece box for $41.

    I hope he pays those who actually make the chicken more than minimum wage!

  • stef

    Lets just say it ” this is not for black people” , Chelsea is upper income NY’ers , 95% white. So I will stick with popeyes

  • omfg

    i don’t eat chicken, esp. fried.

    but, if they can sell it for $41, more power to them. people sell plates of pasta for $25. pasta is just semolina and water with a protein/veg on top.

    i’m no hater. i understand the game. if i could do that i would. just sit back and watch how white folks do this. lol.

    i hope the chicken is cage free, hormone free, antibiotic free and gmo free.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    At $4 per drum stick, they better talk too!

  • P

    $41 for a 12piece? $7.50 for a 2 piece? huh? If my family would hire QuestLove to cater one of our family events (just for the chicken), we would have to pay him almost $500.

    Best of Luck to him, but we’ll stick to cooking our own. gracious..:)

  • Pseudonym

    I understand his point, but do people like Questlove so much they’ll pay $41 for a bucket of his chicken? In NY (Land of $4 halal chicken and rice stands) where they can get it much cheaper and probably better? I guess we’ll find out, but I don’t see this going so well. Even if targeting the hipster crowd, they’re more into quaint hole-in-the-wall restaurants, na?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables……

  • Starla

    If it’s organic, free range chicken, well seasoned with high quality msg free seasoning, fried in coconut oil, or some other high quality oil, then it it worth it. However, If it’s regular ole hormone-filled chicken that is fried in cheap soybean oil, seasoned with run of the mill seasonings then it is most definitely not worth it.

  • mEE

    sure, if it tastes good. I’ve been on the search to find good fried chicken for a minute. my family doesn’t make it so the first time I had fried chicken I was 21 and it was at my best friend’s house. it was soooo good! ever since then every time I go to a restaurant and they have fried chicken on the menu I try it…but it’s never that good “/

    but I agree, for $41 a bucket and for the neighborhood it should be free range, grain fed, hormone/antibiotic free, certified humane, etc, etc, etc

  • http://gravatar.com/kanyade Kanyade

    I have never paid as much for yardbird (and never will).

    But good luck to him in this new venture.

  • CurlyBee

    No I would not pay that much for fried chicken. But I would try the cupcakes and Loveslush. Watermelon jalapeño!!

  • AltheaG

    You in Seattle?

  • http://www.sarahdjarnie.com sarah

    Me too!!! I love me some Popeyes!!

  • Treece

    LOL, this is so ridiculous its hilarious. I am really laughing right now…..For 4 dollars for a single piece of chicken (let alone 41 for a bucket) I need a free taste test first of a small piece to see if it is really worth it. I mean, I would hate to shell out $41 for a bucket of chicken (or $4 for a single wing…Dayum!) that tastes average. Pay all that money just to find out I could’ve gotten better at Popeyes? Oh hell no. Love you Questlove, but no Sir.

  • http://gravatar.com/jswindell Nean

    I’ve been working with a real estate company who specializes in the Lower Manhattan area and as an Angeleno who appreciates Whole Paycheck, I mean, Foods for health reasons, I dunno about this.

    Some of the places I’ve seen in the Chelsea and Meatpacking District are nice but if I were to live out there, I could only picture a big headache.

    Especially in the land of La-La where I can go to Roscoe’s and get a #9 (a.k.a.The Obama) for less than $10 or Mr. Dulan (who has a long history with food and was once a spokesperson for Lawry’s Seasoning salt), who will sell me a fried chicken meal with 4 large sides and dessert for less than $30.

  • Treece

    Yes! Those are the only people who would pay that much for some chicken. If this spot was here in the District, take the tourists to SE and get them a 4 piece chicken and mumbo sauce with fries for $4 at a carry out and see which one they would like better….LOL

  • Kay

    There’s a place not far from where I live, and it’s a Korean BBQ joint. They have this fried chicken seasoned with a sweet, spicy sauce and another kind that’s garlic and peppery. It’s heaven. It’s the best damn fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. But it comes with a twenty dollar price tag for one order. But then again, they fry up an entire chicken (and the chicken is really meaty). I usually can’t finish my order and have to share it with someone and still have left overs for later. So would I spend $41 on chicken? Maybe. *shrugs* But it had better be fantastic and out of this world for that much.

  • GlowBelle

    I understand the crowd he’s catering to and hustle, but $41 is steep for just some damn fried chicken. I like Questlove and all, but he can miss me with this ridiculousness.

    Sometimes being “one of the little people” is fine by me, cause Church’s, Popeye’s, the neighborhood hole in the wall chicken joint, and esp. my Mom’s cooking is where its at.

  • http://gravatar.com/jswindell Nean

    I love Kyochan fried chicken but the one closest to me got a “C”.

  • MommieDearest

    Nope, I wouldn’t pay it. But if he can find someone who will, more power to him. Get your hustle on bruh.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    No, but I won’t knock his hustle clearly he has a clientele base who will so…shrugs.

  • dirtychai

    Questlove isn’t just selling fried chicken. He’s selling Questlove. The hipsters and the yuppies will sop it up. Gon’ head and get that gentrification money Questo. Hell, they’ve been doing it to us for years.

  • http://gravatar.com/janschild janschild

    Me, too; there’s only so much you can do to fried chicken.

  • Mr. Man

    This is for all those thirty something’s who proudly go out of their way in an effort to validate their middle class status. = Hipsters/ yuppies.

    It’s called strategic hustle. If you open your eyes and really pay attention you’ll see these opportunities, they’re all over the place and if you’re not scared and can afford the risk you just may start something. However this smells of a trend that will soon pass, so hopefully quest has a clean exit stradegy as well.

  • MizuWari

    Understanding the hustle to grift the second wave of (White) Hipsterism for greenbacks they hoard for status is all good…

    …but I wanted to support you, B’rer Quest. Can’t hang with those prices for chicken. Uh-uh. Scared money ain’t insanity money. Save it for them hipsters living on their parents’ disposable income.

    Most especially when this city had a SUPREMO place for chicken on the cheap in high-rent Hell’s Kitchen a few years ago called, simply “A Piece Of Chicken.” Those who have lived in NYC for over five or six years might remember this joint. This was an authentic southern-style fried chicken place with the realness. EVERY PIECE OF CHICKEN was like, $1 or $2 (I think after eight o’ clock or an hour to closing they knocked down the price) and they were practically sold out of much of their stock every day come close, including the side dishes, which were a bit more pricey. But the chicken was super inexpensive and had better yum quality than any high-end resto serving the same. As with many quality food places in that area (McHale’s Bar & Grill), they lost the battle to increasing rents about two years ago, unfortunately. So sorely missed.

    I was kinda hoping your joint would be similar, but…*sighs*

    I’ll keep going to May Wah in Chinatown for my chicken jones. $4.95 gets you a bowl of ji tuey fan – crispy, fat fried chicken leg-thigh over rice, minced meat & pickles. It’s been that price and not a cent higher for almost a decade and a half, maybe more. Not soul food style chicken but close enough and damn tasty.

  • shoSTOPPER

    do you know how much chicken and biscuits i can make myself for 41 bucks, and if i didn’t know how to make fried chicked, i’d given that money to a senior citzen black woman who fries chicken and drains the grease on brown paper bags- best chicken ever!!

  • JS

    Not even then though. You can go to Whole Foods and get fried chicken that is all that and it will still be cheaper. And you know its expensive if Whole Foods is cheaper.

  • rkj

    I guess his restaurant isn’t called “Hybird” (high bird) for nothing.

  • Lynne

    Ok, I can’t front.

    I make the best “fried” chicken. I use Jiffy Cornmeal Mix (dry) and egg.

    I OVEN-fry it in olive oil because, you know, I’ve got a college degree.

  • tina

    Blue Ivy better be the waitress serving the chicken & everybody at the table gets a picture with her for that kind of money.

    As for me, I’ll stick with Popeye’s 2 piece white, a side and a biscuit for $4, not to mention the Costco/Sam’s Club cooked bird for $5.

  • Marisa

    I stopped reading the menu after a single piece drumstick is 4 bucks, Quest you lost me after that. We all know who this clientele is and its not the people who pay way less than that on the regular for some good eatin. Everybody wants to have some overpriced 5 star restaurant that caters to only Hedge Fund capitalist, and other rich folk, who can say they just loves some fried chicken, without any longer having to admit they go to Popeyes, KFC, and whatever Mom and Pop soul food joint. My mother and I got a bag of wings from BJ’s and fried up for my cousin’s graduation from college with a Master’s degree party. Quest chicken don’t have sh*t on ours or many others made from the soul, yall know a paper bag for the flour, the various grease burns, now that’s good cookin and eatin lol.

  • Marisa

    Just like those overpriced Italian restaurants that charge 22 dollars for a plate of pasta to feed a mouse, when there are other restaurants that charge way less for pasta and give you way more. Its all a hustle just like the bottle service clubs, I say just check out whose still in business after a few years. A lot of these clubs and restaurants have come and gone in NYC after the allure of being hot and exclusive have worn off. We’ll see how long this one with Questlove last considering Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth’s have been around for generations.

  • Mina

    Um they do that up at KFC too. Except you get more pieces like 20-30 pieces of chicken for that price smh. Idk what the obsession is with overpriced, hormone plumped fried chicken anyway.

  • talaktochoba

    seems the chickens ain’t the only things being plucked;

    ANY mom and pop next to a gas station below the Virginia (FINE black women, breathtaking country cuties, but lousy food) border will serve chicken that would defeat easily anything Questlove or KFC could produce;

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