Fried chicken is classic picnic stuff, but boneless fried chicken is a real upgrade. It’s neater, kid-friendlier, and ready-made for saucing up. You can also eat it in front of a first date without putting your dignity on the line. The question that remains is where to go. Cincinnati has the requisite chains, but the latest local option is CityBird, a chicken tender concept from Thunderdome Restaurant Group—the dudes who brought us Bakersfield, Currito, and The Eagle.
CityBird is next door to the latter, and the chicken breading has a similar (if not identical) vibe: crunchy and just the right amount of zest. Where The Eagle does sit-down plated dinners, CityBird does carryout-only chicken baskets with up to 10 tenders and an array of sauces, from The Eagle’s signature hot honey to lemon thyme ranch (our pick) to green chile hot.
Our favorite menu item is the sandwich, offered three ways: a basic tender-plus-slaw setup, a spicy version, and a lemon thyme version (also our pick). All are served on a soft, toasty potato bun with pickles and the relevant sauce. It’s the most user-friendly way to eat fried chicken, for sure, but there will need to be a wet wipe reckoning with all that sauce. To that, we say: worth it.
CityBird, 1344 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 864-5720, citybirdotr.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. Late night Fri & Sat.