Honey Kettle Fried Chicken

Marques Williams knows the chicken business. 

His father, Vincent Williams, has spent more than 40 years frying chicken in Los Angeles, most recently through Honey’s Kettle. Now Marques is bringing it Downtown, thanks to the delivery-only location called Honey Drop Kitchen. 

“We had our sights set on Downtown LA for a long time,” Marques said. “Our Honey Drop Kitchen is just outside of Downtown LA, but it will service the area. Downtown is really becoming the mecca in LA for good food. 

“We thought it was incredibly important to have a presence there, with the amount of density in LA. It’s our story connecting the west side to the east side. It makes all the sense in the world to plant our flag in Downtown LA.”

Since establishing Honey’s Kettle in Compton in 2000 and relocating the restaurant to its current space in Downtown Culver City in 2005, Vincent and his wife, Arlene, have created a community staple. With the Honey Drop Kitchen, the restaurant can share the revered recipe across the city.

“Expanding our footprint has been a goal of ours for some time, but we wanted to do it right,” Vincent said. “With the increased demand for food delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the opportunity to grow and fill a need for our guests. Through our new drop kitchens, we promise to remain a symbol of quality, on-demand for the entire city to enjoy.”

Marques added, “We are serial entrepreneurs. We bring our fresh, never-frozen, highest-quality food to Downtown LA. We make everything by hand, including the wet batter biscuits, and we do it all with love. 

“Our story is we never compromise on quality. We’ve been doing all of our products the same way for more than 20 years.”

Marques grew up in the business. At age 7, he was working the cash register and learning how to fry chicken. He learned about every aspect of the business from the ground up, including mopping floors, cooking food preparing orders and interacting with customers. 

“I was actively involved in the restaurant business in all capacities,” he said. “I know the business better than anyone outside of my dad. I’m 34 now and I’ve been doing it since I was 7. It’s truly a family-owned business.”

Using a kettle-cooking method inspired by the Colonial era and perfected over nearly 40 years of testing, Vincent crafts scratch-made, farm-fresh fried chicken paired with high-grade local honey, freshly baked biscuits and classic sides. 

The Honey Drop Kitchen menu features favorites from the Honey’s Kettle menu crafted using the same kettle-cooking method and farm-fresh chicken, handmade baked goods, and locally sourced ingredients. 

Additions to the menu from “The Vault” (Vincent’s lab for new ideas) include the “Biscuit Bake,” a new breakfast creation. Retail goods including Honey’s Biscuit Mix and Secret Sauce are also available for purchase from Honey Drop Kitchen. 

Menu highlights include:

• Chicken sausage and egg biscuit bake: Chicken sausage, fresh cracked egg and cheese, baked in a flaky buttermilk biscuit.

• 3.3 (three hotcakes, three silver dollar wings): Three melt-in-your-mouth hotcakes, accompanied by three kettle-fried silver dollar cut wings, butter and 100% maple syrup.

• Premium kettle chicken sandwich: Kettle-fried breast fillet, shredded lettuce, tomato, topped with Honey’s house sauce on a toasted artisan bun.

• Three-piece breast strip meal: Jumbo kettle-fried chicken strips, alongside kettle fries, buttermilk biscuit, and sweet ‘n’ tangy pickles, with choice of dipping sauce: ranch, honey mustard, hot sauce, and/or Honey’s house sauce.

• Family pack: Eight pieces of kettle-fried chicken, two kettle fries, four buttermilk biscuits, pint of coleslaw or macaroni salad, and large side of sweet ‘n’ tangy pickles.

• Picnic box: Twenty pieces of kettle-fried chicken, five kettle fries, 10 buttermilk biscuits, pint of macaroni salad, and a pint of coleslaw.

• Fresh pies by the slice: Peach, pecan or apple.

Honey Drop Kitchen is available on all major delivery platforms, including Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, ChowNow and Grubhub from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Honey’s Kettle has tackled drama before COVID-19, including a fire at its restaurant and the Great Recession. Marques said the family wasn’t about to let COVID-19 shut it down. 

“As far as when COVID and all that stuff hit, we really rolled up our sleeves,” he said. “Quality trumps everything. We are unwavering in our belief in quality. That’s come to fruition in a lot of ways for us. With the Honey Drop Kitchen expansion, we’re not compromising on quality either and our customers can taste it.”

And the business is right for takeout. 

“It travels incredibly well,” Marques said. “We stayed open during the pandemic. We’re committed to not closing our doors unless the government or local authorities tell us we cannot operate. We saw an uptick on on-demand delivery, and we maintained curbside service. We’ve actually been busier now than we’ve been in the past.”