CowPig has been cruising the streets of Tucson for almost two years now, becoming a favorite amongst local eaters. You’ve probably seen it or at least heard about it and we featured them back in July of last year.
Their crispy smashed burgers are some of the biggest and best in town — easily. But let us not forget about their chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, and adult-size tenders. Massive, bursting with unique flavor, and all of them about the size of a midrange farm animal. Other than the outstanding burgers, it’s the chicken that started to bring everyone to the proverbial barnyard. It garnered them an award from Tucson Weekly for “Best Food Truck of 2022,” and the reason for a new stand set to open next month.
American Eat Co. is another food phenom that everyone should visit regularly. If you are unfamiliar, the local food hall sits proudly on the corner of South Fourth Avenue and 25th Street, providing a spread of eats and drinks without the cyclone of a mall swirling around you.
Plus, there is a great bar in the back. So after ordering a slice, a hot dog, or soon-to-be fried chicken, you can take your goodies to the cantina and eat and drink in pure Tucson south side style.
Javier Castro, chef and mastermind behind CowPig, has struck up a deal with American Eat Co. and is moving in with a new aforementioned fried chicken concept called The Coop.
“It’s all about the chicken,” said Castro, who was setting up CowPig for MotoSonora Brewing Company’s third-anniversary party. “I heard there was an opening at American Eat Co. so I just inquired about it — something I can set up for my kid, Thomas, to run. My oldest son, Andrew, is going to run CowPig and, of course, I will still be behind both businesses. I’m trying to set up my kids with a family business so they don’t have to work for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. It’s a family thing, you know.”
The Coop, indeed, is going to be all about the chicken. Those wings and tenders you love so much from CowPig will be on the menu. What about the Chicken Sandos you can’t get enough of? Oh yeah, they’ll be there.
The big addition to The Coop’s menu is going to be fried chicken. Some say “parts is parts” but Castro says it's going to be all of the parts. Thighs, legs, quarters, halves, and even whole chickens. All fried to perfection right there in a small alcove of American Eat Co.
Just hook a left from the front entrance and you can't miss it. The bright blue signage with a cartoon cow and pig tussling under eggs about to hatch might be a clue as to where you are and what you’re getting into.
“We are going to have dark meat if you want, and we will definitely have our tenders because those have always been one of our biggest sellers,” said Castro as he sends out some tenders and fries to a hungry customer. “Oh, and fries, too. Just like on the truck, we will have our Buffalo Chicken Fries because those are super bomb. The Coop is all about being local, being family-owned, and about a father and his sons cranking out delicious food. You don’t want that ‘chain’ chicken joint food, even that ‘hot chicken’ business from some conglomerate. You guys want real fried chicken, fried chicken from my grandma’s recipes. So, come on by and fly into The Coop!”
The grand opening of The Coop is going to be Thursday, April 20 at 11 a.m. when American Eat Co. opens its doors.
To those who know, and for those who may not, April 20th is famous for being known as 4/20, a day to celebrate that sweet leaf itself, cannabis. It's going to be a busy day for those who partake and it’ll be a wise idea to stop by The Coop for some serious grub and munchies. Castro is a big supporter of cannabis culture. CowPig has been seen on almost all occasions of festivals, conventions, and parties dedicated to the magical mystery herb.
However, there is another slant as to why The Coop’s opening day is Thursday, April 20. It just so happens to be Castro’s birthday.
So on 4/20 in the 520, be sure to fly by The Coop for some incredible fried chicken everyone will be bawking about. Food is so good it’ll rustle your feathers! Most eggs-celent chicken!
The Coop will be located inside American Eat Co. (beginning on Thursday, April 20) located at 1439 S. Fourth Ave. For more information, follow The Coop on Instagram.
Mark Whittaker began his journalism career in San Francisco around 1997. It was for a small Northern California music magazine...