If all goes well, The Little Hen should open on Kings Highway in Haddonfield mid-March, making it the second restaurant in one town from partners-in-business (and life), chef Mike Stollenwerk and manager Felice Leibowitz. In 2016, the pair opened Two Fish in Haddonfield, which was named one of NJM‘s Top 30 Best Restaurants in 2018. (Before that, Stollenwerk had found success at Little Fish in Philadelphia in 2006, Fish in 2009, and gastropub Fathom in 2010.)
But where Two Fish focuses on modern, refined seafood, the Little Hen is going full-throttle meat (eponymous little hen included, see below). We caught up with Stollenwerk to ask him about the concept, how he plans on honoring two concepts in one town, and what to expect when we’re able to score one of Little Hen’s precious 20 seats.
Table Hopping: You already have an acclaimed, cozy, niche seafood restaurant in Haddonfield. How will The Little Hen be different?
Mike Stollenwerk: We tinkered around with the idea for the last year. It’s going to [have] a rustic French countryside feel. The menu’s going to play off that. It’s going to be very meat-heavy, kind of the opposite of Two Fish. They’ll play off each other pretty well.
TH: Is that the idea? Playing the two restaurants off each other?
MS: At Two Fish, we limit ourselves. If you don’t like seafood, yes we have steak, but we’re limited in terms of what we’re reaching our guest with. I realized we’re not speaking to everyone. Two Fish is executed more like fine dining: each element has a reason [to be] on a plate, and it all works around seafood, whereas more rustic French would be something like braised short ribs with mashed potatoes. [The Little Hen] is going to be very unfussy, more laid-back, more casual, with price points a little lower. And BYO.
TH: Can you give us a for-instance on price points?
MS: I would say appetizers would be in the $8 to $16 range, entrees in the $21 to $28 range. For the most part, it’ll be classics. Steak Frites, Steak au Poivre, Braised Short Ribs, buttery mashed potatoes. Simple, casual French cooking.
TH: It’s a small corner space—20 seats. What is the interior like?
MS: The total square footage is 450, with an open kitchen, which was part of the plan for Little Hen by default, since it’s one room. When I was at Little Fish in Philadelphia, about the same size as [Little Hen], it was an open kitchen and people loved it.
TH: Speaking of kitchens, what about you? How will you divide your time between two kitchens, to intentionally drastically different menu concepts?
MS: I’m going to oversee both. I’ll spend the majority of my time at Two Fish. And then I’ll see what happens.
TH: Why did you choose to open another restaurant in Haddonfield?
MS: Well, there’s a convenience factor—the restaurant is like, 100 feet away. But it’s an awesome corner spot, nobody’s done anything with it. It was a candy store most recently. It’s right on the corner of Haddon Avenue and King’s Highway. You can see it from every angle, every intersection—there’s beautiful historic bay windows around the whole place. [And] the dining scene is really cool here. At Two Fish, we’ve acquired a lot of regulars and very loyal customers. We have a great following here. Between Collingswood and Haddonfield, and the proximity to Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, there are a lot of people in the area. Ten years ago, if you wanted a good meal, you’d have to go into Philly, drive over and pay the toll, get your car booted.
TH: Maybe a silly question, but can we expect to see hen on the menu?
MS: We’ll probably do a brick-pressed capon, [which is] basically a little hen. When I think of the French countryside, I see a little hen running around. Though the name was my partner [Felice Leibowitz’s] idea. It was just me and her that started out at Two Fish. That’s why it’s called “Two Fish.” And then it got busier and busier.
The Little Hen is scheduled to open by mid-March, located on the corner at 220 King’s Highway East in Haddonfield. Its hours will be the same as Two Fish [Weds – Sat, 5pm – 9pm; Sunday 6pm – 9pm], “though Sunday we’re going to open Little Hen earlier in the day, one o’clock,” says Stollenwerk, “so guests can catch a late lunch or early dinner.” For info on The Little Hen, direct inquiries to Two Fish, 856-428-3474Click here to leave a comment