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A Celeb-Approved L.A. Hot Chicken Chain Makes Its Houston Debut This Week

Dave’s Hot Chicken counts Drake amongst its most devoted fans

a tray of hot chicken tenders and sliders
Drake-endorsed Dave’s Hot Chicken will open its first Houston location this weekend
Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken, a popular Nashville-style hot chicken chain that counts rapper Drake and actor Samuel L. Jackson as investors, is landing in Houston this weekend. The Bayou City’s first outpost of Dave’s will open at 12161 Westheimer Road on Friday, September 24.

The chain, which was founded as a pop-up in a Los Angeles parking lot in 2017, helped popularize the Nashville dish, in which chicken is dredged in an extra-spicy cayenne-based breading before being deep fried, on the West Coast. The pop-up regularly drew long lines, and within 9 months, the founders of Dave’s — Tommy and Gary Rubenyan, Arman Oganesyan, and Dave Kopushyan — had opened their first brick and mortar.

A few years later, Dave’s landed a licensing deal, which led to explosive growth across the United States, often in markets where the hot chicken trend was just taking off.

What sets them apart from the other Nashville-style hot chicken joints in Houston? For one, chef Dave Kopushyan, who previously worked under Thomas Keller of French Laundry, has developed individual recipes for each of the chicken’s seven spice levels, which range from no spice to reaper. According to Eater LA editor Farley Elliott, Dave’s dishes, which include hot chicken sliders and massive trays of tenders and fries topped with a zig-zag drizzle of special sauce, have become widely imitated throughout California. Plus, the chicken at Dave’s is halal, and the chain has become hugely popular amongst LA’s Armenian community. (All of the founders at Dave’s are Armenian.)

When the first Texas location opened in Dallas in May, chicken fans lined up for hours outside of the restaurant, including some who drove all the way from Houston for the spicy meat. Not even Drake is immune to the hype. After asking Dave’s to cater his Billboard Artist of the Decade party in July, the rapper immediately expressed interest in collaborating with the brand.

After it opens this weekend, Dave’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday. As previously reported, the company plans several more locations for Houston, including spots in Rice Village, Spring, Missouri City, and Midtown.

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