Champagne and fried chicken? Perfect pairing pop-up takes over Travail

Nothing goes better with a bucket of fried chicken than a side of mashed potatoes -- unless, of course, there's a good bottle of bubbly around. That's the scenario dreamt up by Erik Anderson and Bill Summerville for their latest pop-up, Ernie's Fried Chicken, slated to run Sundays at Travail starting May 25.

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What began as a playful Twitter conversation between Anderson, Summerville, and food critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl has become a reality. With several pop-ups around the Twin Cities under their belts, (one at Haute Dish and one at Borough, both running over $200 with more than a dozen courses) chef Anderson and sommelier Summerville decided to dip their toes into a more casual approach to pop-up dining. 

"[Pop-ups] tend to be a gigantic amount of work," Summerville says. "So we looked at each other and said 'let's do something truly fun.'" 

Anderson, formerly of Nashville's Catbird Seat and Minneapolis's Sea Change, will be perfecting his fried chicken recipe (no doubt influenced by his time in the hot chicken capital of the U.S.), while Summerville, who ends his time as La Belle Vie's wine director later this week, will be pairing sparkling wines and overseeing front-of-house business. Travail seemed like a natural fit when selecting a spot for the event. "Those guys are geniuses at having a good time," Summerville says. 

Attendees can select a half or a whole chicken, pick seasonal side dishes, enjoy buttermilk ice-cream sundaes, and choose from bottles of bubbly ranging from $19 bottles of Cava to more high-end real French Champagne. "Sparkling wine has high acidity and the acid in the bubbles scrapes the fried and the fat off your palate," says Summerville of the pairing. "It gets you ready to eat more." 

Tickets for the first seating have already sold out, but the duo hopes to make Ernie's (named in part to benefit Anderson's dog who is set to undergo an expensive surgery) a regular event. We've got our fingers crossed for a future full of crispy fried bird and glasses of bubbly. 

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