Feb 1, 2023 - News

Popular Chicago chain Harold’s Chicken expanding to Charlotte with “ice bar” and hookah

Harold's Chicken

Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar is a restaurant, bar and hookah lounge opening on Feb. 3 in University City.

If you’re familiar with the Harold’s Chicken fast-casual chain, expect the same wings and mild sauce they’re famous for, but in an elevated venue.

  • “What my sister and I have done is we have added the ice bar concept to it,” owner Eliot Mosby said. The ice bar, Mosby said, will serve specialty cocktails. The new Harold’s will also have hookah.

Why it matters: Harold’s Chicken has a long history in Chicago as one of the first fast-food chains owned by, and primarily serving, the Black community. The restaurant, known for its fried chicken and sweet-and-spicy sauce, remains a Black Chicago institution, as Eater reported last year.

  • “Back in the 1950s, the original owner was looking for places to eat, and [in many places] African Americans were not allowed, so he created Harold’s Chicken,” Mosby said.
  • Now, there are more than 100 Harold’s Chickens across the country, including three in Atlanta, which Mosby and his sister, Bobbie Robinson, also own.

What to expect: The 11,000-square-foot space fits about 500 people and is split in two — one side is a VIP lounge with a stage, and the other is a restaurant.

  • The space has two bars, including one surrounded by TVs for sports.
  • The menu is wing-heavy, offering buckets of chicken wings. “We serve the whole chicken wing, and we’re also are known for our fried shrimp and our catfish,” Mosby said.
Harold's Chicken
Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Zoom in: Harold’s Chicken has been featured in HBO’s South Side, and White House chef Sam Kass just sang their praises in an interview with Axios’ Monica Eng.

What they’re saying: “The mild sauce (which I hope they bring to Charlotte) is a Chicago staple,” Axios’ Chicago’s Justin Kaufmann told me.

Harold's Chicken
Harold’s wings covered in their famous mild sauce. Photo courtesy of Eliot Mosby
Harold's Chicken
Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Details: Harold’s Chicken in Charlotte is located at 440 E. McCullough Dr.

  • It’ll be open Monday-Wednesday from 11am-midnight, Thursday-Saturday from 11am-2am and Sundays from 11am-1am.

What’s next: In March, Mosby says they’ll add a “boozie brunch” menu with dessert-focused dishes like strawberry shortcake French toast and peach cobbler funnel cake waffles.

Harold's Chicken
Crown Royal peach cobbler funnel cake waffles. Photo courtesy of Eliot Mosby
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