The Thunderdome Restaurant Group’s popular fried chicken concept the Eagle Food & Beer Hall is opening its first suburban Cincinnati location, but it won’t look anything like the Over-the-Rhine original.
Thunderdome is opening the Eagle North in Mason in Oct. 5, but it won’t be a sit-down restaurant serving its famous fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. The Eagle North will be a carryout-only kitchen operating out of the Maplewood Kitchen + Bar, another Thunderdome property, at 5065 Deerfield Blvd.
“We’ve really seen a huge bump in the carryout sales at the Eagle,” Thunderdome co-founder Joe Lanni told me. “It’s great carryout, it’s comforting fare, it’s great the next day and it carries well.”
Lanni said Maplewood, a breakfast and brunch concept, sat vacant in the evenings. By using its kitchen to prepare the Eagle’s food, Thunderdome can keep that building producing revenue in formerly off-hours.
The reason they didn’t decide to open it for dine-in service is a matter of brand – Lanni said so much thought and work goes into the brand experience, more than just the food itself, that serving the Eagle’s food inside of Maplewood would feel odd.
That being said, the food will be the same recipes and packaging as is served in the Over-the-Rhine original. Thunderdome has created new dishes for the Eagle – and all of its restaurants, like Bakersfield and Maplewood – to offer new options as its carryout and catering businesses increase during coronavirus-related restrictions to in-person dining.
“If it goes well, it might be a totally new way of expanding our brand in a given market,” Lanni said. If it goes well, there will probably be more of them. It’s a dynamic environment and we’re all just trying to get through this.”
The Eagle North will offer its food up for curbside carryout or for delivery through third-party apps like DoorDash and UberEats.
Lanni said that Thunderdome’s carryout and delivery sales have grown to account for more than 30% of its revenue.
The Eagle North will be open 4-9 p.m. daily. Its grand opening will be celebrated with the giveaway of 10 $25 gift cards, distributed randomly in carryout orders throughout the night.