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 October 25

by Carolina


Chicago

A white plate of two hot chicken sandwiches and a serving of crinkle-cut fries drizzled with cheese sauce.

L.A.’s celebrity-backed hot chicken chain has landed in Chicago.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Samuel L. Jackson and Drake are investors in this West Coast-bred chain

Dave’s Hot Chicken, the Los Angeles-based chain that counts celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and Drake among its major investors, has opens its first location in Chicago proper, bringing its mega-hit Nashville-style spicy tenders and seasoned fries to the Midwest as part of a major expansion in the area. Originally founded as a parking lot pop-up in 2017, the LA phenomenon debuted Friday at 3643 N. Western Avenue in North Center as part of a grand plan to open 16 locations across the city and suburbs.

The new Dave’s outpost features the chain’s standard menu of fried tenders in seven levels of heat, ranging from “no spice” to the ominous-sounding “reaper” (the latter comes with a waiver alerting diners to the possibility of GI distress). Side options include macaroni and cheese, fries, and kale slaw, plus three flavors of ice cream milkshakes (chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla) to help diners cool off from their spicy poultry. Operators are tight-lipped about where they source their birds but say they’re halal-certified and come from company’s longtime supplier that dates back to their parking lot inception.

A plate of spicy-looking hot chicken sandwiches

Diners can choose among seven different spice levels from “no spice” to “reaper.”

At about 2,500 square feet, the counter-service restaurant seats 40 inside and offers some outdoor spots too. In a nod to its location, the chain’s eponymous human-chicken hybrid, Dave, is depicted in wall murals wearing a Bulls jersey and a Cubs uniform amid swirling psychedelic colors. The spot is also offering online ordering for takeout.

Dave’s first arrived in July in the Chicago area with the launch of a restaurant in suburban Naperville. Operators are still on the hunt for more locations in the city but say they plan to open by the end of January in suburban Melrose Park. The company brokered a 2019 deal with Wetzel’s Pretzels co-founder Bill Phelps to sell franchising rights to 300 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and has since opened in cities such as Vegas, Colorado, Toronto, Dallas, and San Diego.

Many Chicagoans are by now familiar with Nashville hot chicken, available around the city from popular purveyors like Budlong and Fry the Coop. The super-spicy habit-forming dish originated at the legendary Prince’s Hot Chicken and it quickly became a local — and then national — sensation. Now Chicagoans can get a taste of Dave’s star-backed version as the company commences its local invasion.

Dave’s Hot Chicken, 3643 N. Western Avenue, Open 9:15 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9:15 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Bright, colorful murals are a signature for the brand.

Dave’s Hot Chicken North Center

3643 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 754-1555

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Original posted at chicago.eater.com

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