Chicken Shack migrates from Oklahoma to bring broasted chicken to Satellite Beach

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Chicken Shack migrates from Oklahoma to bring broasted chicken to Satellite Beach


Pete Newsom is enthusiastic.

He’s excited about moving to Florida. He’s excited about opening a new restaurant. And most of all, he’s excited about chicken.

Chat with him for a few minutes, and it’s hard not to get excited, too.

Newsom opened Chicken Shack A1A in Satellite Beach on Feb. 6, bringing his version of “broasted” chicken to iconic State Road A1A.

Chicken at the Chicken Shack is hand-cut, hand-breaded and marinated for 24 hours before going into the broaster, a contraption that looks like a combination deep fryer and pressure cooker. The chicken cooks in peanut oil, leaving the outside crisp while the inside is moist and tender.

Newsom said it’s great picnic chicken, because while it’s best hot, it’s juicy and flavorful even when cold.

The menu includes gizzards, pork chops, onion rings and fried okra.

“Chicken’s what we hang our hat on,” Newsom said, “but all our food is good.”

The restaurant is the younger sister of the original Chicken Shack in Luther, Oklahoma. It’s located on another iconic highway, Route 66. Newsom was a general manager at that restaurant from the time it opened five years ago. Friends of Chicken Shack owner Eddy Gochenour have a home in Satellite Beach, so they decided to open a second location.

Newsom came to the Space Coast to set up the new restaurant and planned to return to Oklahoma.

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“The people who were going to run this one decided to do something else,” he said. “I was here. …”

His wife came down a few weeks ago to look for a house.

Chicken Shack is in a strip center just south of the Pineda Causeway in a space previously occupied by North by South Bistro. The inside didn’t take much work. Existing wood paneling gave the dining room a rustic feel. Newsom went to work setting up picnic tables and hanging sails for shade outside.

Food is ordered at a counter, then it takes 11½ minutes to cook a whole chicken.

The original Chicken Shack seats several hundred people, inside and out, and has become a destination around Luther. Guest play cornhole, listen to music, hang out.

Though the Satellite Beach restaurant isn’t nearly as large, Newsom hopes to bring some of that to the new location.

“We pride ourselves on continually growing,” he said.

Word is getting out about broasted chicken, though Newsom still is trying to learn the habits Florida diners.

“One of my busiest days was a Thursday,” he said. He prepared for a busy day the following Thursday. Nothing. Then he had a big after-church crowd one Sunday, and a slow day the next week.

“There’s no rhyme or reason,” he said with a shrug.

He’s not worried. He’s not afraid of hard work, and he believes in his product.

After biting into a warm, juicy drumstick, chances are good you will, too.

Chicken Shack A1A is at 228 State Road A1A, Satellite Beach. Call 321-622-4277 or visit facebook.com/ChickenShackA1A. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. All sauces are made in-house. Family bundles are available.

Email sleonard@floridatoday.com.

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