Mike Boney and John Schauster know a thing or two about niche foods by now.
A little over a year ago, the business partners opened Hop Knot on Middletown's Main Street, marrying freshly baked pretzels and craft beer in a carb lover's dream pairing. Six months later, they announced their next concept, Disco Chick, which would specialize in wings with unique sauces and fries elevated with an array of toppings.
The partners' second restaurant opened in mid-March, just steps from Hop Knot — "Middletown has been really awesome to us," Schauster says — and offers a straightforward, checklist-style menu. Wings are available in boneless or bone-in varieties (in portions of 5 to 40, $6 to $40) and with choice of sauce or dry rub.
Housemade sauces range from classic buffalo, honey mustard and teriyaki to sweet (peanut butter and jelly, honey roasted peanut, honey BBQ) and spicy (jalapeño honey, mango habanero and "Straight Fire," a combination of three notoriously hot peppers: ghost, scorpion and Carolina reaper). A maple bacon BBQ flavor is a bestseller, Schauster says.
"Disco fries" are the other specialty here, but Disco Chick doesn't stop at the traditional fries-gravy-cheese formula that graces many diner menus in New Jersey.
"We wanted to take it up a notch, and customize your fries with whatever you want, really," Schauster says.
Guests start with their choice of a base (hand-cut French fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, housemade potato chips or tater tots, $5 each) and finish their creations with selections of cheese, sauce, meat, veggies and condiments (50 cents to $3 each.)
With a list of 40 toppings, personalization options are near-endless, but many customers default to the pre-designed "house faves" ($6 to $10.50) like the Philly (choice of fries with gravy, nacho cheese, steak, mushrooms, onions, green peppers); the Nacho (nacho cheese, chili, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeño); and the Buff Chick, with cheddar, buffalo chicken and blue cheese. Combos ($8 to $80) feature package deals with "house fave" fry creations, wings and milkshakes in mason jars.
The kitchen has experimented with specials, the partners said, including "pizza fries" loaded with marinara, mozzarella and diced pepperoni. They've also worked on a sweet fry option, dusting sweet potato fries with cinnamon and sugar and topping them with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and strawberry syrups.
Disco Chick is BYOB and guests are encouraged to bring their favorite beverages, or even stop by The Hop Knot to fill growlers of craft beer to go with the wings and fries. The restaurant hosts "bottle shares" every Tuesday night, inviting beer lovers to bring rare and exclusive beers to enjoy with other like-minded guests.
The partners hint that they have a third Middletown restaurant in the works — "a totally different concept" — that's under wraps for now. "Stay tuned," Boney says.
Disco Chick, 170 Main St. (Suite 1), Middletown, is open Sunday from noon to midnight; Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Saturday, noon to 2 a.m. 860-788-6203, discochick.com.