Real Food + Real People: Spinnerie

Nothing says home in quite the way comfort food does, and a recent trend to transform traditional favorites like burgers, sausages, or mac and cheese into something more sustainable and packed with real ingredients is a hit with foodies (and a hit with us, too!). Yet no one has taken on the old-school supermarket rotisserie chicken in the way San Francisco’s Spinnerie has.

Located at 1401 Polk Street, Spinnerie’s local, organic chickens are roasted to a juicy perfection on the classic metal rotisserie, then paired with delicious sides and dressings from around the globe. All the chicken entrees, whether eaten alone or included in their soups, salads or sandwiches, are offered at a price point that makes it a sustainable choice for the pocketbook, too.

That’s the point, noted owner Niko Koros.

“I’m from this area, my parents have had this building for 35 years,” he said, waving his arm to encompass the store. “I left and went to corporate America, I was an attorney for a long time working for different brands, and I always wanted to give back to this neighborhood.”

Ultimately, though, Koros wanted to revisit his childhood roots by working in the family business.

“I grew up doing rotisserie chicken,” he explained. “My parents had a chain of grocery stores in this area, and I grew up doing the rotisserie, and I always loved it.”

Offering a familiar comfort food, done better, Koros said, would be the perfect way to fulfill his dream of giving back while also driving customers through the door.

“This neighborhood is a more eclectic type of community,” he said, meaning that in the ultra-expensive Bay Area, lower Polk Street still retains some of its working-class roots. “So we wanted to be able to get the best, locally sourced ingredients at a very affordable price.”

It’s not only the price point and sourcing that make Spinnerie’s chicken better, it’s their technique.

“I studied rotisserie in France,” Koros said. “They first gave me the idea of doing a butterfly chicken, opening it up. And then we decided to take it to another level, and actually bone out the breast and thighbones, and we did that for a few reasons. One, It cooks more evenly, so you get a better product. Two, it’s more sustainable. The bones are donated to local churches, we help them make soup to feed the community. And also the eating is much easier, much more convenient.”

“And no one else in the world does it this way,” he adds with a smile. Spinnerie proudly boasts on their website that they are the “first and only restaurant in the world serving spatchcocked, deboned Mary’s free range chickens!”

After a solid year in business, Koros is pretty sure he has a successful recipe: for chickens, business and helping better his community. So what’s next?

“We’d like to do a few more locations through the city,” he said, as he watches a line of hungry people forming on a weekday afternoon. “We’ve seen a lot of families coming in here that are now able to eat a really healthy, locally sourced meal, demographics who are now able to enjoy this type of food.”