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LA Chain Dave’s Hot Chicken to Open in Chicago

The chain is looking at spaces in the city, suburbs, and Northwest Indiana

A tray of fries, fried chicken, and more.
Dave’s Hot Chicken is coming to Chicago.
Dave’s Hot Chicken [Official Photo]

A popular LA fried chicken sandwich chain now has plans to open in the Chicago market. Dave’s Hot Chicken, which started three years ago, has announced plans to open 10 locations in Chicago and the suburbs, including Northwest Indiana, according to a spokesperson. The company hasn’t signed any leases, but hopes to open its first in the area in the next six to 10 months.

Dave’s started as a parking lot pop-up in East Hollywood with long lines. Eater LA describes it as “street food-meets-trend food, reworked to fit the needs of the sidewalk.” The chefs behind Dave’s, including namesake Dave Kopushyan, worked at some of LA’s trendiest restaurants and under celebrity chef Thomas Keller. The pop-up was a hit, growing thanks to social media marketing. Dave’s uses chicken tenders in its spicy sandwiches. Later in 2017, the crew opened its first restaurant. Other locations followed. An investor group, the same ones behind Blaze Pizza (LeBron James’ favorite), decided to invest in Dave’s. That team includes actor Samuel L. Jackson, TV host and former New York Giant Michael Strahan, and former First Lady of California Maria Shriver.

Dave’s serves fiery and crispy chicken tenders, curly and regular fries, and cole slaw. Chicken comes in different heat levels: “reaper,” extra hot and hot, to medium, mild, “lite mild,” or no spices added. They will provide competition for Nashville hot chicken vendors in Chicago including the Budlong and Fry the Coop. In LA, Dave’s competes with another chain, Howlin’ Ray’s. These are all places that ultimately take inspiration from Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, a Nashville icon.

Dave’s announced the Chicago franchise team of Ravi Patel and Chris Zalinski last week and they’re looking for a variety of floor plans, including those with space for a drive-thru. The chain continues to be aggressive with expansion, despite the pandemic. In June, Dave’s opened in Las Vegas. Earlier in the year, it opened in San Diego. Stay tuned for Chicago updates.

Dave’s Hot Chicken, opening sometime in 2021 around Chicago.

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