Columbus, OH

New fried chicken destination coming to Columbus in May

The Lantern
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Just Chicken, started by D’Andre Martin, will be located in the East Market at 1600 Oak St. in Columbus and is set to open in May. Credit: Courtesy of D’Andre Martin

Raising Cane’s fans might find themselves flocking to Columbus’ newest fried chicken restaurant, Just Chicken.

D’Andre Martin, owner and founder of the restaurant, said he has ownership in multiple businesses, including co-ownership of popular restaurant The Pit BBQ Grille with Mike Johnson and former Ohio State football players Chimdi Chekwa and Bryant Browning. Martin said opening a restaurant with Just Chicken’s concept has always been his plan.

“I’ve always wanted to do something a little different, something simpler that is still really good,” Martin said. “I always thought about, ‘What is the next best thing that I could do,’ and chicken was always one of my top restaurant ideas.”

Martin, who attended Ohio State in 2007, said his time at the university helped prepare him for the world of business. He said he learned a lot from the community and the city of Columbus as a whole.

“Coming from Cleveland, it was a major experience in dealing with different people and just learning,” he said. “Being in Columbus with all of these different restaurants kind of inspired me. I was told if you could make it in Columbus as a restaurant, then you can make it anywhere.”

Martin said Just Chicken will offer fresh chicken and fries, as well as coleslaw and signature sauces made in-house.

“[Customers] can expect great, fresh, quality food. I promise they won’t be disappointed,” Martin said. “The restaurant I would compare ourselves to is Cane’s, but with a twist to it. So if you love Cane’s, you’ll love us.”

With multiple business ventures, Martin said it can be difficult to balance everything else in his life. He said he credits his wife, A’Leah Martin, and two children for allowing him breaks away from the business world via family game nights and dates every Thursday.

“My wife is also an entrepreneur, so she gets it,” he said. “We try to make time for each other and for our kids. Having a good support system is key, and balancing it out is key.”

A’Leah Martin, a 2010 Ohio State alumna and owner of clothing boutique Jane’s Beauty Clothing , said it is her husband working long days can be challenging, but she and their kids try to support him in any way they can.

“One way is understanding and making time for each other,” she said. “He works countless hours, but we understand that because this is something he is really passionate about. We let him know that we are here for him every step of the way.”

A’Leah Martin said she loved the idea of Just Chicken when her husband first mentioned it and is happy to see him take advantage of the opportunity.

“He’s been doing this cooking thing for a really long time, so when the opportunity came, he thought this would be dope, and I agreed,” she said.

When it comes to owning and operating his own restaurant, A’Leah Martin said she wants her husband to remember all of the little things that come with it.

“Some important things that I would tell him is to always remember why he started,” she said. “Despite the ups and downs, he should stay true to his core, which is his love for food and his love for creating a community.”

D’Andre Martin said he is excited to continue to pursue his passion in the restaurant industry and hopes to continue to change lives with his business.

“My biggest joy is that I have provided jobs and careers for people that changed their lives, and that’s really important to me,” he said.

Just Chicken is set to open in the East Market at 1600 Oak St. in May, but D’Andre Martin said a specific opening day has yet to be chosen. However, as the opening day approaches, more information will become available on the East Market website .

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