ORLANDO, Fla. – A new pop-up restaurant is making its debut inside the popular Chicken Fire restaurant in Orlando’s Coytown neighborhood.
Cow & Cheese is setting up shop inside Chicken Fire’s kitchen, 2425 E. Colonial Drive, on Tuesday evening, starting at 6 p.m.
“I know I become mostly associated with chicken — fried chicken and things like that — which is great, but I’m not as one-dimensional as that makes me out to be,” Boakye said. “I’ve always loved burgers a lot.”
Boakye said smash burgers in particular have been his passion for several years.
“I want to say I really got into making smash burgers at home in 2017 (or) 2018 — smoking up the house, it’s really high heat cooking and there’s a lot of smoke from the fat with the beef searing,” he said.
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The restauranteur said he had been thinking about launching the pop-up for about a year.
“Cow & Cheese was something I was ruminating on — definitely like in and out — for the past year, year and a half,” Boakye said. “This is something that should have been done many months ago. I was the waffler.”
Boakye said he just wanted to make sure that the burgers could be executed to the right level of excellence.
“I really care, at this point, that anything we do 100% matches the quality standard we’ve set at Chicken Fire,” he said.
Boakye said his burgers will be made with fresh, high-quality beef and American cheese, not “cheese product,” with a brioche bun made at a bakery in Winter Garden. He added that the real difference maker with his burgers will be the technique.
“The most important thing is in the technique and we’ve mastered the technique which involves being able to cook under extreme high heat conditions,” he said. “It’s the motions, in terms of which you can press and smash and sear the patty, to season it well, to be able to get the timing down to get this perfect crisp, to get the lattice crunch on the edges and really be able to cook it without overcooking and still maintain some moistness, tenderness and juiciness in there.”
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Tuesday will be the first pop-up for Cow & Cheese, but hopefully not the last. If the event goes well, Boakye hopes to do more in the future and eventually wants to open Cow & Cheese as its own restaurant.
“It’s not about the money. For me, it’s about building the brand, building the reputation and getting the recognition,” he said. “What’s most important, and my overarching mission is to create people’s favorite places. So for Chicken Fire, it’s to create people’s favorite place to eat hot chicken; for That Wing Spot, it’s to create people’s favorite place to eat Buffalo-style wings and for Cow & Cheese, it’s to create people’s favorite place to eat burgers.”
Boakye believes everything else will fall into place so long as he can maintain his high standards for the food he serves.
“That’s my goal right now. Everything else, I believe, will follow. If not, at least people will remember me kindly,” he said.