Shaq Opens First Big Chicken Location in Michigan

The NBA legend plans to open dozens more locations of his chicken restaurant throughout the state.
Photograph courtesy of Big Chicken

Big Chicken, a restaurant chain owned by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, opened its first Michigan location in Clio on Feb. 6. The restaurant, founded in 2018, is inspired by O’Neal’s home-cooked childhood favorites beyond chicken sandwiches and includes staples like crispy chicken grilled cheese, jalapeño slaw, hand-crafted ice cream shakes, root beer, and more, according to the restaurant’s website.

O’Neal references his favorite meals growing up through the names of the menu items like “Uncle Jerome,” a Nashville hot chicken sandwich with lettuce, mayo, and pickles, or “Lucille’s Mac n’ Cheese,” with Cheez-It crust. Classics like chicken tenders and chicken Caesar salads are also available.

Big Chicken has committed to not use hormones or preservatives in any of their products, and to use only cage-free chickens.

In addition to the new Clio restaurant, the chain plans to open several other locations throughout Michigan, including many throughout metro Detroit. Big Chicken signed a lease for its newest location in Hartland in December, according to the International Franchise Association (IFA). That restaurant is set to open in the spring.

“Our talented partners with H&D Group Investments are a powerhouse team who have a passion for bringing BIG fun to more families throughout eastern Michigan,” Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern said in a press release from IFA. “They have a great understanding of what Big Chicken is all about, and we’re thrilled to see how they will continue to scale the brand’s presence across the Midwest. Let’s GROW, Hartland!”

H&D Group Investments is currently looking for additional sites to develop Big Chicken in the state, said IFA. New locations are expected to open in Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Mt. Pleasant, and more, according to Click on Detroit, WDIV Local 4 .

And they aren’t stopping there. Big Chicken has over 300 locations in development across the country, as well as locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, New York, and more, according to the restaurant’s website.

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