La Bodega on West 8th offers organic fried chicken and fries to-go

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Photos by Rachel Stone

A travel companion’s picky eating habit of ordering fried chicken and fries every night from a corner shop near his home in Seville, Spain, inspired Skye McDaniel of Oak Cliff for her takeaway restaurant concept in the Bishop Arts District.

“I was like, ‘That’s a slap in the face,'” she says of those consistent Spanish meals, which her companion preferred to her everyday food adventures.

La Bodega opened this week with a concept geared towards neighbors who want to pick up meals for their families during the week. Therefore it is closed from Friday to Saturday. McDaniel says she might consider opening on Fridays in the future, but the plan is to remain closed on Saturdays.

That’s unusual in the restaurant industry, but McDaniel says it makes sense for their concept. It also buys her team a break on Bishop Arts’ busiest day when parking is crazy. The shop reopens at 3pm on Sunday after Bishop Arts’ brunch rush has subsided.

Being on the fringes of Bishop Arts helps in that regard. Customers can use the lot next to Taco y Vino until 4pm when it becomes valet or find a spot on the street. The errand should take less than 15 minutes to keep customers coming and going.

The tiny storefront serves organic fried chicken Sunday through Thursday from 11:00am to 3:00pm and from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

McDaniel developed this schedule to minimize food waste. The health code only allows keeping hot chicken for 4 hours. So if La Bodega isn’t sold out by 3pm, they’ll pluck and shred the chicken to use in sandwiches and salads, which are available all the time.

La Bodega’s Pulled Chicken Sandwich and Fries ($15) has goat cheese, roasted garlic, mustard, arugula, and caramelized onions.

A whole chicken costs $25. It’s $30 with fries. Half a bird is $15, or $20 with fries.

The kitchen is too small to make a wet brine, so McDaniel and chef Bryan Driver, a Winnetka Heights resident, came up with a recipe for a dry rub made with just salt and herbs.

She insisted on organic chicken and found a farm in Pennsylvania to supply; Forum Meat of Ennis is their supplier.

Everything on the menu accommodates dietary restrictions and allergens. McDaniel hosted a “Sunday lunch” in the backyard of her Beckley Club estate for years, and she had to accommodate all of her friends’ restrictions when she cooked a meal for everyone.

Bread is the only thing on the menu that contains gluten. Frozen fries come from McCain Foods Limited – again, the kitchen is too small to make them yourself – and are just potatoes and oil. The fries are cooked in soybean oil, the only allergen on the menu.

Two of the salads are vegan, along with white bean hummus ($8).

“I eat a salad every day of my life. It’s my favorite food,” she says. “These are things I eat every day.”

Skye McDaniel, owner/operator of La Bodega, was raised on Winnetka and owns a home in Beckley Club Estates.

McDaniel graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and went straight to culinary school at El Centro. Her first experience was with Chef Graham Dodds at Bolsa and she worked intermittently at Murray Street Coffee in Deep Ellum for 10 years. She was also part of Frank Underground for over seven years.

Javier García del Moral, who owns the adjacent Sketches of Spain and Wild Detectives, was originally a partner at La Bodega – he came up with the name and location. He eventually had to back out of their arrangement, but encouraged McDaniel to continue.

His original idea was to also sell Spanish imports such as canned fish and seafood, cheese, ham and wine.

La Bodega sells artwork by locals, including Oak Cliff native Max Razor, and McDaniel says she still wants to implement the Spanish import idea at some point.

La Bodega, 208 W. 8th St., is open Sundays from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Mondays through Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; it is closed from Friday to Saturday.

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