New fried chicken eatery opening at Pearl food hall

Nicola Blaque is replacing Mi Roti with Freight Fried Chicken

Freight Fried Chicken is opening at Pearl’s Food Hall at Bottling Department in January 2024. (Courtesy, A.J. Creative)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio chef Nicola Blaque is opening a new fried chicken concept at the Pearl and closing her Caribbean-style eatery by the end of this year.

Freight Fried Chicken will open in January and replace Mi Roti at the Food Hall at Bottling Department, a news release states. Mi Roti’s last day is Dec. 31.

The release states Freight Fried Chicken will honor formerly enslaved women in post-Civil War America who sold fried chicken to rail passengers traveling through Gordonsville, Virginia, to support their families.

“The women became known as Waiter Carriers and their chicken recipes would attract travelers who would go out of their way just to try the famous chicken,” the release said, adding it created “racial progress in a time fraught with dissension.”

The Virginia town later became known as the “Fried Chicken Capital of the World.”

Freight Fried Chicken will use dry batter with for its fried chicken, served with biscuits. The menu also includes fried chicken tenders, a fried chicken sandwich, biscuits, mac ‘n’ cheese, seasoned fries and more.

“We are excited to welcome Freight Fried Chicken to Pearl and congratulate award-winning Chef Nicola Blaque on her latest venture,” Pearl CEO Mesha Millsap said. “This newest addition to Pearl is a testament to the importance of food and its indelible link between people and culture. As a gathering place for our neighborhood, Pearl is honored to walk with Chef Nicola as she continues to share her talents with our residents and guests.”

Freight Fried Chicken is opening at Pearl’s Food Hall at Bottling Department in January 2024. (Courtesy, A.J. Creative)

Blaque also owns The Jerk Shack and soon-to-open Port Royal at Hemisfair.

Blaque is an Army veteran and a Culinary Institute of America graduate, and was a semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas for the 2023 James Beard Awards.

The official opening date for Freight Fried Chicken will be released soon.

Pearl will also be opening Pullman Market, “the largest culinary market in the Southwest,” in the spring.

San Antonio Chef Nicola Blaque. (Courtesy, Jason Risner)
Freight Fried Chicken is opening at Pearl’s Food Hall at Bottling Department in January 2024. (Courtesy, A.J. Creative)
Freight Fried Chicken is opening at Pearl’s Food Hall at Bottling Department in January 2024. (Courtesy, A.J. Creative)

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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