Have You Ever Attended a Restaurant’s Soft Opening?

A few days ago, I got a surprising text from a neighbor: He’s opening a restaurant, and he invited Megan and I to attend the soft opening.

As far as I can recall, I’ve only attended one other soft opening, and it was for a restaurant chain called Wasabi. That was maybe 10 years ago? So I was excited to attend another.

The twist, of course, is that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so the soft opening was for take-out orders only. Even that made us pause, as we haven’t been inside a restaurant in months (only curbside pickup and delivery). But we decided to wear masks and make it work.

The restaurant is on the Loop in St. Louis, and it’s called Chicken Out. It’s partially owned by the folks that own Sugarfire and Hi-Point Drive-Thru, two fairly iconic, modern, fast-casual restaurants here. The menu features chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches, and chicken salads.

Not great for vegetarians, right? Fortunately, there is a fake-chicken sandwich, along with a few sides (mac and cheese, fries, and kale salad). We got one of each, along with milkshakes. It was a soft opening (during which restaurants build buzz and get their systems working smoothly), so it was all free!

We took a quick photo while waiting for our food–I really need to learn to tie my mask better! The smell of the food in the car made us eat it as soon as we got home, so I forgot to take a photo then. It was all delicious. I love fried chicken and miss it dearly, but the fake fried chicken sandwich was a good substitute. The fries were amazing, the mac and cheese was quite good, and I really liked the option of the kale salad to balance the fried food. The shakes were great too.

I recommend checking out Chicken Out if you’re in St. Louis and are craving some chicken (or fake chicken). I’m already craving those fries again.

Have you ever attended a soft opening of a restaurant?

1 thought on “Have You Ever Attended a Restaurant’s Soft Opening?”

  1. I’ve only attended one myself and that was only a few months ago…a husband and wife I know (he’s Korean and has opened several restaurants in Philadelphia and she’s from Indonesia) and they opened a Sushi Restaurant in the Jenkintown area, just outside Philly. From the lighting and the decor to the fancy dishes which were served, it was quite a night to remember.

    The wife has since opened a coffee shop nearby and while I couldn’t attend the soft opening, Ping, my girlfriend was in town and she visited and thoroughly enjoyed it.


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