By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 11, 2017 at 11:03 AM

In July, we reported that Bumstead Provisions, 2671 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., would be taking on a new identity as Hot Head Fried Chicken. 

And it looks like Wednesday will be a milestone day for fried chicken lovers, who can get their first taste of the new comfort-food haven when Hot Head officially opens its doors at 11 a.m. on Sept. 13.

The restaurant itself has undergone a transformation. Windows are donned in burlap curtains. Tables have been refinished in black. And the walls are hung with a variety of farming implements and vintage tchotchkes.

But, it’s the menu that we were most curious about. And we got a sneak peek of the offerings, which promise plenty of old school comfort in the form of fried chicken and multiple renditions of macaroni and cheese.

"We’ve really been busting our asses to get this right," notes co-owner Mike Bodow, who says they’ve been working for months to perfect the recipes for both the fried chicken and accompaniments.

Fried Chicken

The focus of the menu is on fried chicken. And guests have their choice between three types: Southern fried, Carolina Gold and Nashville Hot with its classic cayenne-pepper infused burn.

The brined chicken is moist and tender on the inside and crispy on the exterior. In the case of the Southern fried, you'll encounter a well-seasoned herbaceous crust.

Meanwhile, the Nashville Hot is, as you might expect, crispy and spicy.

Pricing is $6 for two pieces, $11 for four pieces, $16 for a half-chicken and $25 for a whole chicken. Fried chicken sandwiches are also available for $10.


Sides (priced $4-6) include sauteed collard greens, cheesy grits, broccoli and kohlrabi slaw, salted watermelon, smoked baked beans, mashed potatoes and gravy and street corn salad with mayo, lime, cilantro and Cotija cheese.

There are also three entree salads, a burrata avocado salad with a half avocado, burrata, greens, heirloom tomatoes, fennel, watermelon radish and basil vinaigrette($9); the Cali with romaine, grilled chicken, pepperjack, avocado, tortilla chips, corn and black bean pico and chipotle ranch ($9.5); and a goat cheese salad with spinach, kale, goat cheese, sea salt beets, arugula, red onions and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette ($8.5).


Appetizers include accompaniments like French fries ($3/$5), house cut ranch potato chips ($3) and deliciously light and crispy beer-battered Crafty Cow cheese curds ($7).

Other fried items include deep fried dill pickles ($7), fried chicken wings (one pound for $9), regular or foie gras filled doughnuts with powdered sugar and blueberry compote ($4/$5) and crisp fried okra ($7).

Mac & cheese

In the macaroni and cheese department, you’ll have your choice of cheesy cheddar or smoked gouda mac ($7.5) and a variety of add-ins -- including fried chicken; shrimp and andouille sausage, shrimp and bacon or peppered bacon, roasted tomatoes and collard greens -- priced at $3 to $5 each.

One winning combo is the cheesy cheddar mac with Dr. Pepper and chili braised pork cheeks served up with Dorito crumbs ($12).

Another offers a taste of summer: cheesy cheddar mac with sweet corn and fire roasted tomatoes ($10:50).

Beginning Sept. 13, Hot Head Fried Chicken will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.