In addition to Church’s, Popeye’s, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, KFC, Dave’s Hot Chicken, and the anticipated Bojangles, Houston will soon be home to yet another fried chicken franchise. Celebrity basketball Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal is bringing his fast-casual chicken franchise Big Chicken to Texas, with more than 50 locations spread out across Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, according to a release.
To help spur the franchise’s growth, the Big Chicken company is working with Fazil and Frank Malik, the guys behind gas station and convenience store operations company Northwest Petroleum and Skylark Construction, as well as Noordin Jhaver, the CEO of Dew Real Estate Holdings, LLC, which owns more than 50 Sonic restaurants.
Founded in 2018, Big Chicken serves up chicken dishes and comfort foods — a fusion of O’Neal’s childhood favorites and popular eats today, including crispy chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, Cheez-It crusted mac and cheese, and shakes. Some of Big Chicken’s signature items include a “Shaq Attack” chicken sandwich topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapeno coleslaw, and spicy chipotle barbecue sauce; the mac and cheese-loaded “Charles Barkley” with crispy fried onions and roasted garlic aioli; and “Dirty” fries that are covered in cheese, bacon, banana peppers, and chipotle barbecue sauce.
Currently, the franchise has locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Glendale, California; arena outposts in New York and Seattle, Washington; a ghost kitchen in Rochester, New York; and offerings on two Carnival cruise lines.