Skip navigation
NRN Showdown

Federal Donuts and Chicken brings a fine-dining ethos to a limited-service experience

Michael Solomonov’s chain has started franchising and expanding beyond Philadelphia


Federal Donuts and Chicken is an 11-unit concept by Philadelphia chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov, best known as the owner of fine-dining Israeli restaurant Zahav.

“Doughnuts, fried chicken, coffee. That’s the concept,” said Solomonov, who developed Federal Donuts with his business partner Steve Cook. It was inspired by the cake doughnut shops along the Jersey Shore. That, combined with the fact that they were eating a lot of Korean fried chicken at the time, inspired them to set up their own limited-service restaurants, which gradually expanded.

Recently Solomonov and his partners sold all but two of their locations in the Philadelphia area to franchisee Michael Sloane, and the first franchised location in Las Vegas recently opened at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.

The doughnuts come in two styles, “hot fresh,” in plain glazed, chocolate with chocolate glaze or chocolate with classic milk-based glaze, retailing for $2 apiece, and “fancy,” with flavors such as baklava, French toast, chocolate truffle, and strawberry shortcake, which are $3 each.

The chicken is cured and spiced overnight, battered and fried at a low temperature, rested and chilled, and then fried at high temperature at service. Sandwiches available in Buffalo, barbecue, Caesar, and other varieties are $10. Tenders and wings are priced similarly and come with a mini-cake doughnut. Coffee starts at $2.50 for hot drip coffee, but espresso drinks, draft lattes, Vietnamese coffee etc., are available and can go as high as $5.25.

Solomonov says his approach is similar to his fine-dining operations.

“We are all about meticulous, consistent preparation, and we are very focused on hospitality.”

Although Solomonov and Cook did the original research and development for the doughnuts and fried chicken, they have since hired a chef, Jarrett O’Hara, who oversees that activity. The hot fresh doughnuts are made at the individual restaurants, but the Fancy ones are made at a central commissary and shipped to the Philadelphia locations, although Solomonov said franchisees would eventually be trained to make them in-house.

“Our ethos is whether it’s a $5 two-minute interaction with coffee and doughnuts, or at Zahav where you’re having a more elaborate meal, you want people to feel great and special, and you want to make memories,” Solomonov said.

“A hot fresh doughnut is emotional and oftentimes religious, so I feel like we have the same opportunities at Federal Donuts as we do with any other restaurant, whether it be sit-down or not, to make people feel good.”

Vote for Federal Donuts and Chicken in the NRN Dessert Showdown on Instagram or LinkedIn.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.