BY ANDREW AYALA
“Howlin’ Ray’s” and its renowned hot chicken are sure to make a mark on consumers taste buds and will have them craving more.
Located at 727 N Broadway #128 in Chinatown, Los Angeles, this small shop gathers a big crowd.
Surrounded by other known restaurants such as “Chego,” “Ramen Champ,” “Baohaus,” and “Pok Pok Phat Thai,” “Howlin’ Rays” brings a new style of food to the plaza.
With a menu that includes main dishes such as chicken sandwiches called “Sandos,” plates of chicken with toast and pickles, wings, and the exclusive chicken and waffles that can only be obtained during the weekends, there is a variety to choose from for any chicken lover.
Despite them being known for their chicken, there are different levels of spiciness country has almost no heat, mild contains a brush of heat, medium picks up the burn, hot, x-hot and howin’ close out the categories as the hottest flavors.
All levels differ and the staff is more than happy to answer any questions consumers might have on the heat. The Howlin’ flavor, however is made with habanero, ghost pepper, and the red savina, which are some of the hottest peppers in the world.
Sides include collard greens, hot shake fries, macaroni salad, and cider vinegar slaw. To wash all the delicious food down, they have choices between peach tea and lemonade or classics like Coke and Diet coke.
Thanks to their improvements on staff, they have cut their wait time from three hours to an hour and a half. At the restaurant, consumers will encounter the most hospitable and energetic staff. From their responses, to their singing and dancing when being filmed or photographed, it always seems like a good time.
The employees never forget that the customer is always right, and consumers are welcomed with warm laughs and good vibes.
Consumers have choices between three sandos. One is Luis style, which is made with toast as opposed to normal buns. One is JoJo style, which was made with waffles as buns topped with syrup and sugar. The last one is classic.
The amount of flavor and spices is very pleasing to consumers, and can be ordered to guest preferences as mentioned before. The chicken is hormone and additive free, which can be tasted from first bite to last.
The Luis style and JoJo style sandos had cheese and were different since the classic had coleslaw, pickles, and their Comeback Sauce, which is mayonnaise with pepper and spices.
The Luis and JoJo style brings a refreshing twist to a classic and the JoJo, in particular, has less toppings due to the sweet and salty balance this sandwich brings.
At first orders seem nice and neat but as soon as eaters begin to indulge on the hot chicken, they may encounter needing multiple napkins to clean the mess.
The macaroni salad and coleslaw are very fresh and seem to be the balancer with the hot chicken. Mario style fries are something new but an item from the secret menu that should be tried if wanting to eliminate bread from the meal.
The peach tea and lemonade are always refreshing and allows consumers to have something sweet to wash down the southern spice.
A freshly baked cookie can also be something to enjoy after a plate of hot chicken, in either chocolate or snickerdoodle flavor.
Though very pricey, with prices ranging between $9 to $28, people are bound to enjoy spending that amount of money because after all, they get what they pay for.
The store is only open from Wednesday to Sunday and their hours of operation are between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so be sure to plan ahead.
They have also added pre-orders, but the order must consist of parties of 10 or more and a new site on the Westside of town is said to be built in 2018. There is no set location, but there is talk of a Culver City storefront.
Regardless of what is ordered if consumers love of chicken, spice, or both, they are bound to have a wonderful and enticing experience at “Howlin’ Ray’s” due to the amazing staff and mouthwatering dishes.
2014 was the year that chef Johnny Zone and his wife decided to dive deeper into the hot chicken culture in Nashville and bring a piece of that back to Los Angeles.
They realized the impact that delicious hot chicken had on the people eating it and decided it was time for them to share this experience with the rest of the community.
November 2015 was the last stop of their hot chicken truck and the beginning of a new venture, which was their storefront, located in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. With lines between two to three hours long when they first opened, everyone was beginning to finally hop onto the hot chicken train and see what this place was all about.