Chicken Pharm is almost ready to feed Petaluma, a town once known as the egg capital of the world and still a poultry powerhouse. It opens next Saturday, November 11, at 132 Keller Street in the former Tuttle Drug Store — hence the “Pharm” of the name, though the choice is ironic given that the restaurant’s chickens are Rocky’s antibiotic-free birds.
Chicken Pharm comes from The Patio Group, a San Diego real estate and hospitality chain who have planned their Northern California expansion for at least two years. “We have a lot of good connections in Petaluma,” owner Gina Champion-Cain told Eater San Diego in 2015. “It was an opportunity to buy a building in a very cool town which has great demographic base.”
For Chicken Pharm, The Patio Group deployed their in-house designer, Hilary Rossi, building out an 110 seat ding room with 20 seats at a wrap-around bar. There are 14 seats at The Roost, a communal table made from a single slab of maple, and more — per the restaurant group’s signature — on a patio, though this NorCal version will be a bit more seasonal than those in San Diego.
While it’s owned by outsiders, the talent at Chicken Pharm will be local, starting with head chef Adam Mali and going all the way down. “The service is gonna be very approachable,” says Mali, who was previously executive chef at Nick’s Cove in West Marin and has lived in Petaluma for a decade. “Come in, sit down with the family, no pretenses.”
On the menu, the chef isn’t putting all his eggs in the chicken basket, preparing a range of small plates, salads, and even a griddled PB&J for kids that’s served with a glass of local milk. “We’re using some great, great vendors — it’s one of the reasons I moved to Petaluma” says Mali, “the producers out here are the best in the country.” He glows about the local cheeses (Chicken Pharm’s mac and cheese is made with Petaluma Creamery white cheddar) and beef from Fallon Hills ranch. “I don’t want it to be a hamburger place, but it just might be — it’s a memorable burger.”
That means Chicken Pharm’s chicken better live up to the name. It’s soaked overnight in buttermilk with cayenne, celery seeds, fresh garlic, and thyme, before it’s fried to order, served either as an entree or sandwich on a brioche bun with pickles and coleslaw.
Starting November 11, Chicken Pharm will be open Sunday, Monday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday. A Sunday brunch (breakfast tacos, buckwheat pancakes with local honey) will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.