Billy Harto Announces Opening of Billy’s Fried Chicken
No one can accuse local chef and restaurant owner Billy Harto of letting moss grow under his feet. The owner of Thai Pepper, Ostra’s, and former owner (and founder) of Kobe, his latest creation is Billy’s Fried Chicken—Cold Beer & Cocktails, located at 82 N. Main in the spot formerly occupied by the Thai Pepper Bar.
“For many years, I had been making different types of fried chicken for friends, family, and staff members,” Billy said. “After a consistent push by these folks to open a restaurant using these recipes, it finally seemed like it was time. After years of wildfire smoke and now the pandemic, it became more difficult to sustain Thai Pepper as a restaurant with a larger seating capacity. Splitting it into two entirely different concepts just made sense.”
For most people in the U.S., southern style fried chicken is usually the first to come to mind. While it is one of his favorites, Billy has been a lifelong fan of finding and trying different types of fried chicken.
“In my native country Indonesia, people eat many variations of fried chicken,” he said. “Indonesians enjoy fried chicken recipes that are salty or sweet, battered or not battered, and it is not difficult to find a KFC location throughout most of the country. Throughout the years, travelling in and out of the U.S., I have found many recipes that I plan to share through this new establishment.”
BFC is unlike any of Billy’s other restaurants. It’s more casual with counter service and bar seating. The menu is very simple, offering Buttermilk, Japanese, and Korean Fried Chicken with an assortment of sides from potato salad and coleslaw to jasmine rice and radish kimchi (courtesy of local farmer’s market friend Cindy Yi).
“Our new chef, Ryan Wojt, is originally from Tennessee and has been working in the valley for several years,” Billy said. “We’re excited to have him here to contribute his own knowledge and experience to our existing recipes. Ryan and I hope that as life gets back to normal, we’ll be able to offer more specials that highlight the various types of fried chicken from around the world.”
The bar at Billy’s will continue to be shared with Thai Pepper, which is now back in its original location downstairs. The seating, however, will be mostly designated for Billy’s. Ashland’s Favorite Bartender (Sneak Preview “Best of Ashland”) Zach Benson has a rotating list of special cocktails that will change with the seasons, while still offering many of the Thai Pepper favorites.
“Unfortunately, as we head toward another shutdown, we won’t be able to offer cocktail service,” Billy said. “We will, however, try to keep a stock of beers, wines, and sakes for take-out with the chicken. We currently offer dine-in, take-out, and curbside pickup. We will be offering delivery soon as we are currently working toward finding the safest and most affordable delivery partner. Hopefully, the shutdown will be over soon.”
For takeout and curbside service, call 541-708-6744. You can also see them at friedchickenashland.com and on Facebook and Instagram.