On top of being an actor, sports analyst, DJ, musician, and, of course, basketball hall-of-Famer, Shaquille O’Neal, is also a proprietor of his own fast-casual chicken franchise appropriately named, Big Chicken.
The franchise has been gradually expanding across the United States beyond its initial set of locations in California and Las Vegas in 2018. With outposts popping up in airports and arenas left, right, and center recently, Big Chicken has now opened its first location in Chicagoland.
Now open in Rosemont, the 2,610-square-foot restaurant is only the second Big Chicken in the Midwest after an Ohio outpost but will soon be joined by another set to open in Schaumburg soon.
Specializing in comfort food fare, The Big Chicken franchise is inspired by O’Neal’s family’s recipes growing up. The menu ranges from chicken sandwiches, popcorn chicken, and chicken tenders, to sliders, salads, and boozy shakes.
At many restaurants around the country, its signatures include the “Shaq Attack” chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño slaw, and spicy chipotle bbq sauce served on a brioche bun, as well as the Charles Barkley – a mac and Cheese, crispy fried onions, and roasted garlic bbq aioli stacked chicken sandwich.
The new Rosemont location, however, is currently offering a completely unique option that won’t be found anywhere else. Teaming up with the beloved Stan’s Donuts, “the Spicy Chicken Stanwich” features “Nashville hot” chicken from Big Chicken sandwiched between maple-glazed doughnut buns from Stan’s Donuts.
Shaq himself didn’t attend the opening this month due to a traffic and logistical nightmare experienced when he attended the grand opening for the new Big Chicken in Houston recently but Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens said “I still think we will get him here at some point. He does pop in from time to time.”
Big Chicken now has locations in 13 states across the country. The Chicago locations have been in the works for some time after Big Chicken revealed that franchisee Ken Patel has signed a 10-year lease for the new Rosemont location at the start of 2022.
Once one of the largest franchisees in the 7-Eleven system, Patel then partnered with Level Construction to build the 2,610-square-foot restaurant.
“We are so excited to welcome Big Chicken’s first Midwest location and introduce its delicious chicken sandwiches to Rosemont’s residents and visitors alike,” said Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens. “The 2,610-square-foot venue will join Stan’s Donuts and Small Cheval as we welcome the next generation of quick casual restaurants to Rosemont this fall.”
The Rosemont Big Chicken can be found at 9437 W. Higgins Road while the incoming Schaumburg outpost, which will also be run by Vishal Patel, is planned to open at 1245 N. Roselle Road.
More information about Big Chicken, its menu, and its incoming locations can be found at www.bigchicken.com.
[Featured image courtesy of Big Chicken]