Fried chicken sandwiches are having a moment. These sandwiches have exploded in popularity over the last several years, with several major burger chains going head to head with the quality of their chicken sandwiches. Possibly the only thing bigger than fried chicken is NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal (aka Shaq). So when Shaq and fried chicken come together, it’s going to be something big.
Shaq hasn’t played professional basketball since 2011, but he’s remained in the spotlight ever since. Whether it’s from his NBA commentary to taking over Papa John’s pizza or even selling car insurance and body lotion on television spots, Shaq is everywhere. And that includes owning his own fried chicken sandwich restaurant. And now, he’s bringing that restaurant to greater Phoenix, a town he called home for a year.
Big Chicken isn’t the same as other standard chicken sandwich locations. There are a number of signature sandwiches that take the flavor to the next level. The signature dish is Lucille’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese, which is a fried chicken sandwich that comes with a helping of mac ‘n’ cheese inside, and that mac ‘n’ cheese is coated with a Cheez-It crust.
Located in Glendale, the restaurant is only the third rendition of Shaq’s Big Chicken. The original opened up in Las Vegas, the second popped up in Glendale, California, and the newest location will move to Phoenix. But it won’t be just a one-off location. There are plans to open a dozen locations around Arizona, most of which will be located around metro Phoenix (although don’t be surprised if one or two dips down into Tucson as well). Official locations have not yet been announced for Big Chicken in Phoenix, although the restaurant has partnered with a former owner of several 5 Guys burger restaurants, which means Big Chicken may move in somewhere close by, or into any of the 5 Guys storefronts that have recently closed.
Hours of operations also have not been announced, although both the Las Vegas and Glendale locations share similar hours of Sunday through Thursday, 11 AM until 8 PM, and Friday and Saturday from 11 AM until 9 PM (the Vegas location is open two hours later on each day), so expect something similar with the Arizona locations.
Other chicken sandwiches on the menu will include the Shaq Attack (pepper jack cheese, spicy chipotle bbq sauce, and jalapeno slaw), the Charles Barkley (mac & cheese, roasted garlic bbq aioli, and crispy fried onions), the Chicago (buffalo sauce, mayo, slaw, and blue cheese), and the Uncle Jerome, which is a Nashville hot chicken with pickles, lettuce, and mayo.