Chicken Lou’s reveals new products, more surprises to come

Graphic+by+Devin+Raynor

Graphic by Devin Raynor

Skye Richmond, deputy campus editor

On Monday Jan. 11, Chicken Lou’s Twitter account tweeted, “Did we all think Chicken Dave would stay retired? #workingonsomethingbig #fingerscrossed #weneedgoodnewsin2021” 

Since then, a series of mysterious tweets revealed the release of new products such as the shack’s signature honey mustard sauce, signature TKO seasoning salt and various pieces of Chicken Lou’s merchandise, which can be purchased on an online store. As of this month, the sauce can also be found in Merrimack Premium Outlets in New Hampshire. The TKO spice mixes are arriving this week, and will be delivered to pre-orders by next week.

The beloved restaurant closed its doors at the end of April 2020 after nearly 30 years in business. The small shack on Forsyth Street was established in 1990 by Lou Ferretti and has been owned and run by three generations of the same family since. The menu featured fan-favorites such as chicken parmesan sandwiches, burgers, breakfast fare, along with other comically-named comfort foods such as “The Cholesterol” or “SEC’s on the Border.”

“I remember the day they announced they were closing,” said Hayes Zierden, a third-year politics, philosophy and economics major. “I went to Chicken Lou’s immediately after that and the line was all the way up the street toward Ruggles.”

The closure of the restaurant was a sorrowful event for Chicken Lou’s lovers, but a “bittersweet decision” for the family, said Lou Ferretti’s granddaughter Gerry Ferretti-Berrios.

Gerry worked the night shift six days a week for the eight years years before the restaurant closed, but Chicken Lou’s had always been a major part of her childhood. 

“I grew up making iced coffee behind the counter when I was eight,” Ferretti-Berrios said. 

When she first started working for her dad, known as Chicken Dave, at the restaurant more than 10 years ago, she had a goal to grow the business by bottling their signature honey mustard sauce. After reaching out to a few manufacturers and not receiving the desired response, the idea was put on the shelf as the family focused on other aspects of the business.

When we started this, we weren’t even sure we were going to match our honey mustard to what we had in the restaurant. And when we got that last sample, and it was so dead on, we were like, ‘Alright we are rocking and rollin.’”

— Gerry Ferretti-Berrios

After the closure of Chicken Lou’s, the family bought a small piece of commercial property in New Hampshire. When Ferretti-Berrios walked into the building, the warehouse-esque atmosphere reminded her of her goal from so long ago — bottling the honey mustard. 

“It was like a lightbulb went off,” Ferretti-Berrios said. 

Transforming the refrigerated honey mustard sauce served in the restaurant into a shelf-stable, bottled product was no easy task, Ferretti-Berrios said. After partnering with a family-owned Ohio-based co-packer, they were finally able to replicate the original product in January of this year. 

“When we started this, we weren’t even sure we were going to match our honey mustard to what we had in the restaurant. And when we got that last sample, and it was so dead on, we were like, ‘Alright we are rocking and rollin’,” Ferretti-Berrios said. 

Chicken Dave, announced on Twitter Oct. 12 that he was working with Wollaston’s Market on “big things”. Ferretti-Berrios confirmed that over the next couple of weeks, fans should keep their eye on Chicken Lou’s social media and on Wollaston’s shelves for delicious new projects. 

Additionally, she cryptically announced that the honey mustard and TKO seasoning will be available in the New England area in the very near future. 

“I was really kinda hopeful they wouldn’t have to close last year,” said Terence Choy, a 2020 Northeastern graduate with a degree in applied physics. “If they have anything at all that [brings Chicken Lou’s] back, I’m looking forward to it.” 

While the restaurant is no more, Chicken Lou’s legacy on Northeastern’s campus stays alive.  

“I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” Ferretti-Berrios said. “Even if I fail at this, I can at least say I tried and I won’t spend the rest of my life wondering if it could have worked or not. You don’t want to live life with regret.”