Since Shaquille O’Neal is seven foot one, we all knew it was just a matter of time until he started making big moves in the 713 (which is, fittingly, happening just before the start of basketball season). The legendary basketball Hall of Famer’s fast-casual chicken franchise, appropriately named Big Chicken, just announced that it is breaking ground on its first location in Houston, which will open later this fall.
Located in the Westchase area at 9660 Westheimer Rd (just down the street from The Galleria), Houston's first Big Chicken outpost is part of a 50-unit agreement across the state’s four largest metro areas—Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. The Las Vegas-based restaurant, founded back in 2018 by O’Neal along with partners JRS Hospitality and Authentic Brands Group, already has locations in eight states as well as on Carnival cruise ships.
While Houston is already home to several buzzy chicken sandwich-dispensing eateries such as Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken, Mico’s Hot Chicken, and Howdy Hot Chicken, what Big Chicken brings to the mix is lots of variety: The restaurant plays host to eight different chicken sandwiches, including standout options like the Big & Sloppy featuring mac & cheese, crispy fried onions, and roasted garlic bbq aioli; the Uncle Jerome, a Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich simply dressed with lettuce, mayo, and pickles; and the Shaq Attack, a picante offering loaded with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño slaw, and enough spicy chipotle bbq sauce to have you alley-ooping more than a handful of Tums after your meal.
Big Chicken also serves sides like sweet potato fries, Cheez-It crusted mac & cheese, and jalapeño slaw. For dessert, the restaurant has some pretty tempting milk shakes (we’re most excited about trying the El Padrino Negro, which is a blend of chocolate chips, peanut butter, and whipped cream), a trio of ice cream sandwiches, and one very big cookie aptly named the Big Cookie—a nine-inch basketball-size cookie behemoth which we suppose has been scaled up to appear normal in size when being gripped by one of Shaq’s hulking hands.
Big Chicken opens this fall at 9660 Westheimer Rd.