They're in love, they're chefs, and they're opening a restaurant called Love & Honey Fried Chicken together in Northern Liberties.
Todd and Laura Lyons, both grads of the Culinary Institute of America, just signed a lease for the ground-floor corner spot at the repurposed commercial building at 1100 N. Front St. (corner of Wildey). It's a block south of Girard, a clear shot across the way to the Fillmore.
Love & Honey Fried Chicken - takeout/delivery focused, with about 15 counter seats and an open kitchen - will specialize in buttermilk fried chicken, comfort-food side dishes (the buttermilk biscuits will be served with salted honey butter), and four to six pies. And matzo-ball soup "made by a real yenta," as Laura Lyons describes herself. (Todd is Irish-Catholic.)
Though the menu is Southern-inspired, "we draw inspiration from all cultures and seasonality," said Laura Lyons, who says she gained about 10 pounds testing pie crusts over the last year. (She tends to overshare.)
"The pastry has to be perfect," she said. "You want them to swoon."
The couple met at the CIA. Laura, who grew up in the Princeton area and graduated in 1995, was back in 2007 as director of food-enthusiast programs. Todd, who grew up in Richboro, was a student - and nine years her junior. "It was quite the scandal," she said.
They moved to Philadelphia in 2011 and were married in Rittenhouse Square with an afterparty at Di Bruno's.
Laura spent the last 15 years out of the kitchen and in culinary marketing and consumer education with Aramark, the CIA, and Le Cordon Bleu. She also ran a traveling cooking school called Dish With the Yenta and a culinary consulting group, Good Dish Consulting.
Todd was sous chef at Aramark for Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field. He's now senior research and development chef at Campbell's Soup Company and holds Certified Executive Chef certification through American Culinary Federation.
Stephen Maffei of Abitare Design Studio will do the design, which will have an industrial look. Thailan Lim at the Salas Team represented the Lyonses. Nadia Bilynsky of MPN Realty represented the landlord, Elk Street Management.