In the Kitchen: Edmund Addai of Stack House

A URI grad’s quest to create the perfect Southern-style fried chicken


A small breakfast joint recently opened near the University of Rhode Island with a big goal: to achieve “the best fried chicken in all of New England.” Specializing in waffles, French toast, and, of course, fried chicken sandwiches, Stack House – formerly a takeout-only spot – gained a cult following when they first opened in Providence, but owner Edmund Addai always had his eye on South County.

“The decision to open a new location in Kingston is one of those full-circle moments. I had originally thought of the Stack House concept in 2017 when another restaurant was up for sale in the same plaza where we are now open,” says Addai. Though the timing wasn’t right then – fast forward to last year, after he had proven success with the chicken and breakfast concept – and his dream spot was back on the market. “Everything happens for a reason,” he continues. “It's not often you get the chance to open a restaurant right next to the school you went to!”

A URI grad, Addai grew up cooking but didn’t always see himself becoming a professional chef – though there were certainly early indicators of his passion for breakfast. “It's funny looking back on some of my early work that involved making pancakes and scrambled eggs,” he reflects. Ultimately, it was a love of creativity that fueled his path. “As I continued to develop my skills, I would actively attempt to recreate recipes or even reinvent some of my favorite dishes or entrees I might try at different restaurants.”

Stack House stemmed from Addai’s quest to create authentic Southern homestyle food here in Rhode Island, which he explains was scarce at the time. “I found that a lot of chicken tasted the same and lacked a ‘real’ quality. Our region is mostly known for seafood, so I tended to stay away from chicken when eating out to avoid disappointment.”

Addai spent many long nights perfecting Stack House’s signature fried chicken recipe before opening. Though he can’t reveal all of his secrets, what sets their chicken apart is attention to detail. Hand-coating each piece in their signature breading helps maximize crispiness on the outside and juiciness on the inside, while house-blends of herbs and spices achieve beloved flavors of the South. “All of our chicken is fresh and never frozen,” says Addai.

When it comes to breakfast, there are no rules. “We give our customers the freedom to customize their orders, whether it's Chicken and Waffle with a cornbread waffle and side of sweet potato fries or a S'mores Waffle on chocolate – we want to create an exciting experience filled with many possibilities.”

Along with devising top-quality recipes for Southern comfort food, Addai is also acting as a mentor for the young workers – mostly URI students – he employs. “Born and raised in Rhode Island and being a first-generation African-American, I didn't know anyone that ran a restaurant or too many people that were successfully operating a business,” he shares. “I feel like I can be a real example for other people and younger adults from similar backgrounds who share similar experiences. In my role as their boss, I try to maintain an example of professionalism, display a quality work ethic, and positive guidance.”

Whether you’re craving country fried chicken, crispy wings, or dessert-leaning waffles to satiate your sweet tooth, Stack House is becoming an essential breakfast spot in South County. Though best in New England is the goal, Rhode Island eaters can count themselves lucky the legacy of Addai’s chicken launched here.

Stack House99 Fortin Road, Unit 108, Kingston


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