When one door closes, another opens.

After noticing a sought-after seafood spot in Somerset had closed, the owner of a popular catering business decided to capitalize and make it his permanent home.

Eric Thomas said he is thrilled to bring Bearded Chicken to even more people on the SouthCoast, expand his menu and continue to push the barriers on traditional cuisine.

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Who is Bearded Chicken?

Eric Thomas is the head chef and mastermind behind Bearded Chicken.

“We do a lot of events, festivals and private events, and we’ve been doing that for the past seven years,” Thomas said.

Thomas prides himself on taking traditional recipes and giving them unexpected twists.

“We are known for our wings with Portuguese buffalo sauce,” he said. “We take classic (meals) and put a spin on them that customers really love.”

Plans for the New Year

It was in the plans all along for Thomas and his team to expand into a new venture, but it wasn’t always going to be the brick-and-mortar that they are thrilled about now.

“We had actually planned to do a food trailer,” Thomas said. “We already started gutting it out, but then I heard that Chad’s Chowderhouse closed. That’s where I used to get my seafood all the time. I saw the building was available and started thinking about it.”

It was the perfect fit.

Chad’s Chowderhouse had been a Somerset staple for 30 years. The building sits at a perfect location on GAR Highway, and it was the perfect size for Bearded Chicken.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Thomas said. “Creativity is big for us. Having a brick-and-mortar enables us to have specials and expand our homestyle dishes with a modern twist.”

What to Expect at the Brand-New Bearded Chicken

Fans of Bearded Chicken can still expect mouth-watering wings and yummy egg rolls, but with the new space, Thomas is excited to serve up an entirely new menu.

“We started test-running some chicken sandwiches, homemade chips and Portuguese buffalo fries,” he said.

And get ready for a new section of the menu called “Smoking Bowls," which will be different kinds of barbecue meats over garlic mashed potatoes.

As for the food truck, Thomas has a few ideas.

"We may still do events like Foodchella and farmers' markets," he said. "It's a possibility to make it a trailer to serve different kinds of shakes. I got a couple of ideas. It's kind of up in the air right now."

When Will Bearded Chicken Open in Somerset?

Thomas aims to turn on the “Open Now” sign by April 2023.

“We plan to start with takeout and curbside pick-up, then add delivery shortly after followed by counter service dine-in and eventually full-service dine-in,” he said.

Somerset is buzzing about the new spot, and personally, I can't wait to get my hands on Portuguese buffalo fries.

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