In addition to being an NBA commentator, a Papa John's spokesperson and an EDM DJ (perhaps you've heard of Diesel?), former NBA player Shaquille O'Neal also co-owns a fried chicken sandwich restaurant called Big Chicken—and the chain's first midwest location will soon be located just outside of Chicago. The Village of Rosemont announced today that Big Chicken is joining a development at 9421 W Higgins Road, which will also house locations of the ever-expanding Stan's Donuts chain and the first suburban outpost of burger joint Small Cheval.
According to renderings, the 2,610-square-foot Big Chicken restaurant will share a building with Stan's Donuts and is scheduled to open in fall 2022. The fast-casual chain launched in Las Vegas in 2018, accompanied by a Facebook Watch reality series that documented O'Neal's involvement in the opening of the first Big Chicken restaurant. A second Big Chicken restaurant opened in Glendale, California in 2020, and O'Neal seems focused on expanding the franchise—there are already ghost kitchen locations as well as locations inside of sports areas and cruise ships.
The Rosemont Big Chicken will be the chain's third full-service restaurant, serving fried chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, salads, shakes and sides. If the menu falls in line with the offerings at other Big Chicken locations, the Rosemont restaurant will offer a sandwich made with mac and cheese that's named after former NBA player Charles Barkley as well as a fried chicken creation called "Chicago" that's topped with buffalo sauce, blue cheese, mayo and slaw (condiments that aren't exactly what the city is known for). You'll also likely be able to order a side of "Shaq Sauce" to dip your fries in—and, no, we have no idea what "Shaq Sauce" is made with.
Of course, there's no shortage of places to find amazing fried chicken in Chicago, but we're curious enough to sample Shaq's crispy poultry to see whether or not it's a slam dunk.