London’s chicken joints aren’t just places to buy cheap food: they’re a symbol of the city. Despite crackdowns by councils and health campaigners, chicken shops are vital community hubs for Londoners, with their own thriving culture, language and visual identity.
In the last few years the humble chicken shop has inspired grime MCs, illustrators, fashion designers, TV producers and app developers. It’s been used as a way to pinpoint up-and-coming areas of town. It’s spawned a wave of imitators – hipsterised chicken shops, poshed-up chicken shops, socially conscious chicken shops, even Hackney’s famous ‘vegan chicken shop’ – and gone viral thanks to the YouTube reviews of the self-proclaimed ‘Chicken Connoisseur’. Chicken shops are on the map like never before. And here’s that map.
We asked Gwilym Lockwood, a data scientist at The Information Lab, to geolocate every chicken joint in town. International chain restaurants (KFC, Nandos and Soho House spin-off Chicken Shop) are marked in red, with sole traders and legit London chains (Morley’s, Chicken Cottage, Sam’s) in blue. Each borough is coloured to represent the ratio of independent shops to chains: the bluer the borough, the more independents.
What are we trying to prove? That Bossman is king, big chains don’t rule the roost and there’s a world of greasy glory out there. Feast responsibly.
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