The team behind Delica Kitchen is bringing fried chicken and doughnuts — at the same time! — to Leslieville
By Anna Silman
Devin Connell and her brother, Luke
Devin Connell, the much-buzzed about owner of Yonge and St. Clair’s trendy Delica Kitchen, couldn’t decide what kind of restaurant to open next. All she knew was that she wanted to serve either fried chicken or doughuts. Stuck between a rock and a sweet place, she decided to do both.
Connell and her brother Luke are set to open Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken at 913 Queen Street East in mid-June. The takeout-focused spot will pay homage to the feel-good comfort food once served by the duo’s late grandmother, Paulette, whose mouthwatering fare was the antithesis of diet food.
“She believed that more butter and butter on everything was sort of the way to go,” Connell says of her grandmother.
Doughnuts and fried chicken might seem like an unorthodox combination, but this sweet and savoury pairing isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Waffles and fried chicken are a popular menu item throughout the United States (or try it at The Stockyards or The Drake Hotel here in Toronto). Connell thinks that doughnuts and chicken provide a sort of quintessentially Canadian twist on this artery-clogging dish.
“Fried chicken and doughnuts are just two foods that are sort of happy foods,” Connell says. “Anybody that eats them, it just kind of makes them happy. It makes you smile. And so I just thought, why not combine them?”
The menu is relatively no-frills, and the team at Paulette’s aren’t looking to do anything “super trendy” with their doughnuts, so don’t expect to see them topped with bacon any time soon. What you will see instead is simple home-style cooking, made from scratch using high quality ingredients.
“It hard to say that chicken and doughnuts are healthy,” Connell says. “But if you were gonna make them at home, this is what they would be like.”
The chicken will represent a twist on the traditional southern fried variety — at Paulette’s, it will be Korean-fried, a healthier take on fried chicken that involves frying it twice, producing a lighter, crispier batter. They’ll also be serving a number of different dipping sauces inspired by diverse culinary traditions.
In addition to chicken, doughnuts and coffee, the menu will feature a number of sides, including a traditional mac ‘n’ cheese. They’ll also be serving six specialty doughnuts a day, as well as hot doughnut holes made to order, with a choice of flavoured sugars.
While the menu may look nothing like Delica’s, Paulette’s is helmed by Delica chef Graham Bower, previously of Pangaea. And with the same owners and management, we can expect Paulette’s to provide the service and attention to detail that made Connell’s first venture such a success.
But it’s clear that Paulette’s is, at its heart, a family affair. As Connell explains, “It was really important to keep it in the family.” So that’s exactly what they did, even serving the same traditional drip-coffee that their grandmother used to drink, and having the interior design — featuring a retro drive-through-inspired ordering area — done by Connell's aunt, Hope Thomson.
Add to this an “awesome, awesome” hot chocolate and a special frozen hot chocolate for summer, and Paulette’s is looking to be the next glutton’s mecca in Leslieville.
Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, 913 Queen St. E., 416-546-5408