After months of searching, this Miami chef found a new home for her popular chicken spot

Since Time Out Market announced last summer that it was closing its doors, chef Amaris Jones has been stressed.

That meant her fried chicken eatery, Chik’n Jones, would need to find a new home.

That meant she had to hustle.

A Miami resident for more than two decades, Jones relied on her network. And after months of searching for space everywhere from Fort Lauderdale to Kendall, something finally came through inside Freehold Studios, a hospitality concept from Brooklyn that opened its Wynwood outpost in 2022 with a café, a pizza place, a bar, plus a live music and event space.

“It’s like I been holding my breath for six months,” Jones said. “This feels like a release of a deep breath.”

Located on NW Second Avenue in the heart of Wynwood, Chik’n Jones takes over as Freehold Studios only dining concept and is the latest addition to a neighborhood with diverse culinary offerings. For Jones, a Wynwood location made sense considering it’s one of Miami’s most heavily trafficked areas. But for Freehold owner Brice Jones, the partnership with Chik’n Jones gives them more creative freedom.

“We’ve never had a chef at Freehold that we have been able to collaborate with,” Brice said. “What we really wanted was a talented partner.”

The two business owners have already begun to explore a host of ideas. There’s plans for a brunch, a happy hour, even collaborations with local businesses.

“I’m just ready to have some fun in this community and really show our community what Chik’n Jones is about,” Amaris said. “It’s about culture, really good food, elevated ingredients without sacrificing flavor and taste.”

“She brings sense of quality that you can get from a high-end restaurant that you can have in a much more accessible setting,” Brice added. “I was really impressed with not only the quality of the chicken, which goes without saying, but also the fact that she didn’t over sauce it. She let the ingredients do the talking.”

When Brice first opened Freehold in New York, he wanted it to be similar to the Soho House without the membership. The brand expanded to Miami in 2020 and it didn’t necessarily have the same impact due to the pandemic. With Chik’n Jones, the goal is to utilize Amaris’ strong connections – on top of phenomenal fried chicken – to help grow both brands.

“I had a done deal with Amaris before I even tried her food,” Brice said. “Not only is she so tied into the local community, she has such a charismatic personality and integrity that you don’t really see in Miami.”

Amaris’ strong local ties stem from her move to Miami in 2001. She did a little bit of everything from real estate to property management before opening her first restaurant, South Street, in 2012. Though South Street’s stint in the Design District was short-lived, Amaris’ unique cooking approach developed a cult following as Martha Stewart, Lenny Kravitz and LeBron James frequented the eatery.

Eventually, Amaris landed a gig as the personal chef to Rick Ross, whom she helped lose 80 lbs. The success didn’t stop there: in 2022, while still operating Chik’n Jones, Amaris was named chef at large of Red Rooster.

“I wanted someone with equal talent but also, locally, to have really strong ties to Miami,” celebrity chef and Red Rooster owner Marcus Samuelsson told the Miami Herald in 2022.

Although the Red Rooster gig was a big get, Amaris still remained committed to Chik’n Jones. Plus she had her employees to think about.

“When you’re in the service industry, you’re servicing the community and you have to consider your employees part of the community as well,” Amaris said. “I would want someone to help me.”

Chick’n Jones menu highlights include chicken & waffles, hot honey chicken sandwiches and her renowned sweet potato biscuits.

While Chik’n Jones occupies the front room of Freehold, the back has an open floor plan that’s spacious enough for you to get work done on the couch in the corner and then mosey on over to the bar for a drink once the laptop is slammed shut for the day. A few hanging chairs drop from the ceiling, something Amaris happily exclaimed that she recently got on Facebook Marketplace.

“Nothing with me is every cookie cutter,” she quipped. “It has to have some sort of flare.”


WHAT: Chik’n Jones

WHEN: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, Sunday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE: 2219 NW Second Ave., Miami

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