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Cross Street owners Tommy, Grace and Wilson



It all began in 2017 when husband and wife Tommy Nguyen and Grace Chi opened Cross Street with their best friend and flavor master, Wilson To. Together, they offer a new take on traditional Korean fried chicken by marrying it with classic southern spices. The best of both worlds!

Native to Convoy, San Diego, they wanted to give back to their community and create a place for locals to come by after work and enjoy themselves. A place with great food, great vibes, and great service. 


Before they opened, Tommy left the corporate world to pursue his travels with Grace for some flavor inspiration. They went to Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea. Every corner they turned, they’d see Chimaek–fried chicken and beer paired together–a classic combination in Korea.

They’ve brought that inspiration back with them to San Diego. And taking extensive restaurant experience from Grace and her family, they are pairing crispy Korean fried chicken–fried twice and tossed hot in 13 unique flavors–with San Diego’s best craft beers.

Cross Street was recognized by USA Today as one of the Top 20 Best Fried Chicken Spots in America, and has received many awards such as Best Wings and Best Fried Chicken Sandwich in San Diego. Be sure to check out their recent feature on the Food Network show, Food Paradise, in the video below!

Video Transcript Guest 1 (00:00): I love crunchy food because it makes me feel good inside Narrator (00:03): Extra crispy. There's fried food and then there is fried chicken for the Crispiest Cluckers in San Diego. Tie your napkin around your neck and head to Cross Street Chicken and Beer. Guest 2 (00:20): That Colonel guy needs to step up his game. Narrator (00:24): Husband and wife owners Tommy Nguyen in Grace Chi opened Cross Street with their best friend and flavor Meister Wilson To. With a desire to blend Korean flavors with classic southern fried chicken techniques. Owner, Tommy (00:38): We're open, come on in guys. Narrator (00:44): Before they opened, Tommy quit his day job and hit the road with Grace for some flavor inspiration, Owner, Tommy (00:51): We went to Thailand, Vietnam, Owner, Grace (00:53): Japan. Owner, Tommy (00:54): Japan, (00:54): Korea. I am a huge fried chicken fanatic. Every corner you turn, you see a Korean fried chicken, chicken and beer place. Narrator (01:01): Mm-hmm . They've brought that inspiration back and are pairing it with San Diego's best craft beers. But it's the Korean crispiness that's the star Owner, Grace (01:13): With Korean fried chicken. We like to double fry it. We'll fry it one time, and then we will let it sit out for a little bit, so all the juices soak in and then fry it again. It gives that double crunch, crisp. Narrator (01:26): Experience, that double crunch crisp for yourself when you bite into the Classy As Cluck. Owner, Wilson (01:33): With traditional fried chicken, it's double fried, but not too much flavor on the batter. (01:41): For (01:42): Our batter, we season every single layer, Narrator (01:45): The layers of flavor that will become the crunchy coating. Start with a dry rub. Owner, Wilson (01:50): We have different flavors in this one, so this is gonna make the chicken pop from the ground level. Narrator (01:54): In a bowl, he mixes their secret spice blend with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Owner, Wilson (02:00): We took months creating this perfect mixture, and there you have it. Narrator (02:05): He pours that over chicken thighs and gives them a good rub down. After sitting a spell, they're ready to be battered with the one-two punch of seasoned flour and a crucial wet batter. Owner, Wilson (02:15): This is made with flour, cornstarch, and soda water. The soda water is gonna contribute a lot to the lightness of the batter because of the air bubbles, that's gonna create a lot of air pockets making it nice and crispy Narrator (02:27): Into the oil and those cook until they're G B D. He lets the chicken cool down and then pops them back in the fryer for that extra crisp. Owner, Wilson (02:36): Chicken so nice. Gotta fry it twice. (02:41): The Korean Style comes from the double fry, so the double cook time makes it extra crispy compared to the single fry Narrator (02:47): With that crunchy chicken. Good to go. It's time to get classy. He slathers herb infused mayo on a brioche bun. Piles on greens with a little sweet dressing, the fried chicken, American cheese and pickles. A handful of crispy tots brings us home. Owner, Wilson (03:02): The Classy As Cluck! Stay crispy San Diego. Guest 4 (03:08): The crunch really delivers all this spices to saltiness. Combined with the pickles, it's sets a beautiful dance in my mouth right now (03:17): I love crunchy food because it makes me feel good inside. It just makes me feel happy. Like you see me, I got a big smile on my face. Chicken and beer, like that's the best thing ever. Guest 5 (03:27): When you bite into it, the outside is nice. How you texture and crunch, the meat just kind falls apart in your mouth. Guest 4 (03:33): This is how you know it's legit. Narrator (03:37): If you're looking for some sweet heat to go with your crunch, try their soul. Spicy tenders. Owner, Wilson (03:44): This is a championship -winning soul. Spicy sauce. It takes from the traditional Korean flavoring of yangnyeom. Yangnyeom is a hot sauce made from gochujang and that a perfect pairing for a Korean fried chicken. Narrator (03:58): He makes. His house made gochujang in a pan, followed by ketchup, soy sauce, corn syrup, and a lot of garlic. Owner, Wilson (04:06): Let's give this guy a taste. (04:08): Mm, (04:09): That's perfect there. Narrator (04:11): Before he dresses the chicken with sauce, he whips up a side. Their corn cheese pairs perfectly with cool beer and crispy bird. He gets some butter melting in a pan and then adds mayo, soy sauce, brown sugar, and the corn. Owner, Wilson (04:24): We're trying to find balance of flavors and different textures. Narrator (04:28): Next, he comes in with creamy mozzarella and sharp cheddar salt, pepper, and fried garlic chips round it out. Owner, Wilson (04:36): Now it's time to start plating. Narrator (04:38): He drenches those double dip, double fried tenders with the spicy soul sauce, and then serves the corn on a hot cast iron plate. Owner, Wilson (04:46): You're gonna get that nice sizzle. That's exactly what we want. Narrator (04:52): That gets finished with a dusting of cheese fried garlic and scallions. While the tenders get a topper of curly green onions. Owner, Wilson (04:59): Classic crunch with some Seoul. Guest 6 (05:07): The (05:08): Sauce does not take the crunch away. It's still crunchy, but it's so ooey gooey with that sauce on top. Amazing Guest 2 (05:19): Man that's so fire. Breading is nice on the outside, nice and crispy and crunchy, but it's still nice and juicy and tender. It's super sweet, but it's definitely got a kick of heat to it. Little crunch to the corn as nice and cheesy. Lots of cheese and it is definitely a nice compliment to the chicken Guest 7 (05:38): Tangy. Sweet, smokey, slightly spicy, but very, very flavorable. So good crispity, crunchity, like . Chefs kiss. Narrator (05:49): Why does San Diego fried chicken fans cross the road? for Korean style crunch at Cross Street chicken and beer Guest 1 (05:57): You gotta wonder what came first, the chicken or the beer.

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