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Harold’s Chicken’s Mild Sauce Hits Grocery Store Shelves

Also, secrets of the White Sox clubhouse food room revealed

A restaurant with a red front and a white awning that says “Harold’s Chicken Shack #62” with the logo of a man chasing a chicken
Harold’s is famous for its mild sauce.
Antonio Vernon/Wikimedia Commons

Harold’s Chicken Shack, the iconic Chicago fried chicken brand that’s gained national notoriety thanks to celebrity fans like Chance the Rapper, has begun selling its famed mild sauce in supermarkets. Fans can pick up sixteen-ounce bottles of the sweet, zesty condiment at some city locations of Pete’s Fresh Markets and Walt’s Food Center, a mini-chain with south-suburban outposts in Homewood and South Holland.

Though the mild sauce was previously available through Harold’s website, most orders came from restaurants, owner Kristen Pierce told Block Club Chicago. Since the bottles hit shelves, however, demand has exploded, with fans across the U.S. desperate to get their hands on the regional cult-favorite topping. Mild sauce is slated to soon appear in other grocery stores, including Save A Lot, and Pierce plans to bring back online sales that were temporarily paused due to the pandemic.

Mild sauce is a much-loved local invention and a staple of the city’s Black-owned chicken restaurants like Harold’s and Uncle Remus; it even served as a plot device two years ago in an episode of Comedy Central’s South Side. A white Chicago entrepreneur last year sparked passionate discussion over his bottled version, That Mild Sauce, as some residents felt the product capitalized on Black innovation without proper attribution. Would-be rivals, however — including Uncle Remus CEO Charmaine Rickette, who sells her sauce online — at the time told reporters that she welcomed the competition.

The secret to the Sox’s success is... empanadas?

a baseball player, hat askew, hugs another baseball player
José Abreu excited about getting an empanada in the clubhouse later.
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What do major leaguers eat? The food room in the White Sox clubhouse has an entire section devoted to Latino cuisine, the New York Times reports, serving, among other things, plantains, empanadas, and stewed oxtail — all foods the many Caribbean and Central American players, including star first baseman José Abreu, grew up eating. But the other players have come to embrace the Latino food as well. Shortstop Tim Anderson, an Alabaman, told the Times, “Whatever they bring in, really, like chicken with rice, I’ll eat with them, that’s for sure.”

A recycling program for plastic utensils

One of the consequences of ordering takeout is an excess of plastic utensils: they’re often too flimsy to use, but throwing them out feels like an environmental crime. The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is attempting to solve this problem with a recycling program, Block Club reports: people can bring their unused plasticware to the Andersonville Farmers Market. Utensils still in their wrapping will be donated to A Just Harvest, a food bank in Rogers Park, while the rest will be recycled by WasteNot Compost. The market runs on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. through October 20; it’s located on Catalpa Avenue between Clark and Ashland.

Stuff your piehole

The South Side Pie Challenge, which has been honoring the city’s finest amateur pie-bakers since 2012, returns to its original, in-person form tomorrow afternoon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Nichols Park in Hyde Park. Registration for bakers closed on Wednesday, but the pies are still available for eating, at $4 a slice. There will be no tables or seating, though visitors are welcome to eat in the park. Proceeds go to the Hyde Park/Kenwood Hunger Programs.

Harold's Chicken Shack

1014 South Western Avenue, , IL 60612 (312) 733-1401