Chef Michael Stollenwerk already owns the restaurant Two Fish in Haddonfield. But one wasn’t enough for him and his girlfriend, Felice Leibowitz, so they opened The Little Hen down the street. This new, French-inspired BYOB dining experience offers food that is simple and down to earth.
“The idea was to bring something that isn’t in the area but not to compete with ourselves,” Michael says. They wanted meat options, but the 400-square foot space with seating for 18 seemed too small for a steakhouse. French fare is a good compromise, since many dishes include meat. Customers agree, as the pair see many familiar faces at both Two Fish and The Little Hen. “We have a lot of crossover customers,” Michael says. “We’ve built a great following of regulars that go back and forth.”
Before The Little Hen, the space was a candy shop; though it has since been completely gutted and redone. Felice came up with the aesthetic, using her design school studies and background working in restaurants. With simple décor – that includes textured walls and a mirror – the interior evokes a French countryside feel. Of course, this leads to those little hens in the name. “Felice’s vision was French countryside and she saw little hens in that vision,” recalls Michael.
As for Michael, he grew up at the Jersey Shore. He’s been working in restaurants as a bus boy, fry cook, and dish washer since he was 13 years old. He then attended the Academy of Culinary Arts while working at The Washington Inn in Cape May; where he worked his way up to sous chef. Since then, he’s become a chef and part owner at Café Loren in Avalon; as well as a chef and owner at Little Fish in Philadelphia.
The Little Hen Offers A Menu For the Peckish
Michael says the most popular menu item is duck frites. This seared duck breast comes with a side of hand-cut French fries. During colder weather, their warm and hearty cassoulet is a big hit; it’s made with garlic sausage, duck confit, pork cheek, and tarbais beans.
He also urges patrons to try the frog legs. “You don’t see this dish often,” he says. To keep things simple, the lightly flavored dish is sautéed in brown butter and garlic. Click here to find the full menu.
You can find The Little Hen at 220 Kings Highway East in Haddonfield. They are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and Sundays from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. For more info, give them a call or visit the website.
All Photos: © The Little Hen / Facebook