New Food Pop-Ups at Brea Improv

The Brea Improv comedy club recently debuted pop-up restaurant Poultrygram, which specializes in fried chicken to go. On Sept. 7, Resident Taco will begin to offer Mexican street eats. Executive chef Geno Fontanoza tells us more about the takeout and delivery-based concepts.

Chef Geno Fontanoza; Photograph courtesy of Mike Universal and Saad Siddiqi

What inspired the pop-ups?
(With the pandemic), we’re not allowed to open our live venues. Our goal is to stay relevant in these times and bring a new level of food to our clubs. The food was there already. I had all these ideas already. It was easy for me to put that into fruition. Our toughest part was making sure to find ways for the food to travel well. We have these two pop-ups so far; they are here to stay, and I believe we’re just going to keep adding on. We started doing this drive-in comedy series at Irvine Spectrum, and we’re working on having our food concepts available there.

How do you prepare your fried chicken sandwich at Poultrygram?
The juiciness of the chicken comes from our buttermilk marinade. We marinate the chicken breast in buttermilk spices and fresh dill for at least 24 hours—almost like a brine. The buttermilk adds a little bit of tartness. There’s also a sweet element that goes into it which is the pickled relish. We use fresh Persian cucumbers for that.

Where did the name Poultrygram come from?
It’s a play on telegram and ties in with the whole delivery service. In the beginning, we had a different running name for it. We’re all jokers here because we work at a comedy club. I first came up with Poultrygeist. We were going to use ghost chiles and make it the spiciest chicken sandwich ever. I’m totally happy with the name now.

Tell us about Resident Taco, the pop-up that you’re launching soon.
The whole idea for it was to do street foods of Mexico. Our main focus is barbacoa, which is braised beef in spices. The recipe for the barbacoa was inspired by our company’s vice president of operations. He spent summers growing up in Mazatlán. He had this great recipe, and I added a little bit to it to make it ours. I think the sleeper hit is going to be our churro donut, warm churros in donut form with dulce de leche.

What do you miss most about the club being open for performances and dine-in service?
As a chef, I miss all my cooks for sure. I can’t wait to have them back once we open. I still keep in touch with all of them or call them just to see how their families are. I miss going into the next room and catching 10 minutes of whoever is performing.

Good to Know
Downtown Brea has picnic patios where you can enjoy your takeout.

180 S Brea Blvd, Brea

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