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Dave’s Hot Chicken, an LA Celebrity-Backed Fast Food Chain, Is Opening in Dearborn

Drake, Maria Shriver, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Strahan are investors

A tray of Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, tenders and cheese fries on the menu at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

Dave’s Hot Chicken, the scrappy late-night LA pop-up turned mega-hit hot chicken spot, is bringing its tenders and sliders to Dearborn, when the chain opens its first restaurant in Michigan this week.

Along with hot chicken tenders and sliders, Dave’s serves sides of house-made kale slaw, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese and crispy seasoned French fries. The chicken spiciness is adjusted to the customer’s taste, starting at “no spice” and cranking up to the ominous-sounding “reaper” (which requires a signed waiver for those who dare). Operators have been tight-lipped about where they source their birds but say they’re halal-certified and come from the company’s longtime supplier that dates back to their parking lot inception.

A plate of spicy-looking hot chicken sandwiches
LA’s celebrity-backed hot chicken chain Dave’s Hot Chicken is bringing its spicy tenders and sliders to metro Detroit
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

When the restaurant opens Friday, October 29 in Dearborn, customers will have a pick of outdoor dining or seating indoors, where there’s custom artwork that reps the Motor City’s personality.

Dave’s Hot Chicken started as a parking lot pop-up in East Los Angeles in early 2017, only to move into a brick-and-mortar location nine months later. Owners Dave Kopushyan, Arman Oganesyan, Tommy Rubenyan, and Gary Rubenyan capitalized on the Nashville-style hot chicken wave, inking a 2019 licensing deal with Wetzel’s Pretzels co-founder and former CEO Bill Phelps, and movie producer John Davis to begin franchising the Dave’s Hot Chicken brand. The company has sold the rights to almost 500 franchise locations in the U.S. and Canada and will open 25 locations this year, and recently opened its first Chicago restaurant.

Dave’s Hot Chicken
A restaurant dining room with art on the walls and tables with four chairs near a window Dave’s Hot Chicken

Rapper/entertainer Drake recently signed on as a major investor to the restaurant chain. He wasn’t the first celebrity. Maria Shriver, Red Sox owner Tom Werner, actor Samuel L. Jackson, and Good Morning America anchor and retired NFL player Michael Strahan are also investors.

The exterior of the restaurant, which sits at two corners. A sign read on the building reads Dave’s Hot Chicken Dave’s Hot Chicken

The new Dearborn restaurant, at 22208 Michigan Ave., will be open daily from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

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