Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken Restaurant to Open First Location in Houston

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is the founder of Big Chicken, a fast-casual restaurant opening in Houston with 50 units planned for Texas. (Big Chicken)

Houston is a few steps closer to the opening of the first of many Big Chicken restaurants, the Shaquille O’Neal-owned fast-casual chicken concept that is primed to take Texas by storm.

The city’s first franchise location at 9660 Westheimer at South Gessner (Woodlake Square Shopping Center) is expected to open December or early January, followed by an ambitious rollout in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. The first Houston Big Chicken is among eight in the planning stages in Greater Houston, part of a 50+ rollout over the next seven years in the state’s four largest metro areas from Texas franchise owners Fazil Malik, Frank Malik and Noordin Jhaver.

“I’m super excited about this brand and this opportunity,” said Fazil Malik. “I’m hoping we go way beyond 50.”

The Houston-based franchise partners believe Texas is ready to embrace Big Chicken, a relatively new restaurant brand founded in 2018 by NBA Hall of Famer O’Neal. Big Chicken has big plans with franchise agreements to open in Texas, Central Oklahoma, Chicago, Arizona, Nashville, Florida, and the Seattle and Los Angeles areas. The first Texas location of Big Chicken opened in April at the Moody Center in Austin.

As the restaurant industry rebounds from the pandemic, Big Chicken is one of the hot players on the fast-casual market.

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SOURCE: Houston Chronicle, Greg Morago