Nashville-style chicken chain will open another Charlotte-area restaurant

There’s no chickening out in the latest battle for the chicken sandwich market in the Charlotte area. LA-based chicken chain Dave’s Hot Chicken is opening its second Charlotte store featuring Nashville style chicken, after debuting five months ago in Bojangles’ hometown backyard.

The store is opening Friday at 8932 J.M. Keynes Drive in University City. The fast-casual chain opened its first Charlotte store in September at 1300 The Plaza in Plaza Midwood.

It’s one of several chicken sandwich shops expanding in the Charlotte region, including one that opened just days ago less than a mile away. Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar, a Chicago fast-food fried chicken chain, made its Charlotte debut Friday with a hookah bar.

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Dave’s Hot Chicken expansion plan includes at least 12 franchise locations in the Charlotte region. Two more stores in the region are expected to open this year, company spokesman Josh Levitt said.

The University space is 2,501 square feet, according to local commercial real estate company CASTO’s website. The new store has about 110 full- and part-time employees, Levitt said.

The Nashville-style chicken chain joins The Pointe at University Place neighbors Piada Italian Street Food and Pho at University. Other restaurants at the center include Cava Mezze Grill, City Barbecue, Dunkin’, Five Guys and Blaze Pizza.

Dave’s Hot Chicken is opening Feb. 10 at 8932 J.M. Keynes Drive in University City in Charlotte.
Dave’s Hot Chicken is opening Feb. 10 at 8932 J.M. Keynes Drive in University City in Charlotte.

About Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken started as a late-night popup six years ago in a parking lot, according to the company website. There are now over 80 locations open or coming soon in the U.S., Canada and Dubai.

The chain specializes in hot chicken tenders and sliders, with seven spice levels from “no spice” to “reaper.” Sides include macaroni and cheese, kale slaw, and fries or cheese fries.

The new store’s hours will be 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.

Heated chicken sandwich competition

Dave’s Hot Chicken joins a hot field of chicken sandwich competitors, including Harold’s and other newcomers.

In August, former NASCAR CEO Brian France opened Summerbird in South End, with plans to open more locations.

Arkansas-based Slim Chickens debuted in North Carolina in March, opening at 5535 Prosperity Ridge Road, just over 7 miles from Dave’s University spot. The fast-casual chain’s expansion plan includes 14 locations in North Carolina and South Carolina.

A Fort Mill, S.C., store is expected to open March 13 and another one is set for Monroe on March 27, according to the Google business profiles online. Those opening dates are tentative and may be adjusted, a company spokeswoman said.

Last year, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A opened two stores, one in Mooresville. and one on Cox Road in Gastonia after closing a Franklin Square location

In the fall, hometown chicken-and-biscuit chain Bojangles said it will move its headquarters this year to a larger space at 500 Forest Point Circle. Bojangles, which opened in 1977 in Charlotte, has opened or plans to open nearly 130 stores with debuts in Ohio, New York, Texas, Illinois and Arkansas.

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