Chicago’s Harold’s Chicken Shack: History Behind the Taste

Harold’s Chicken is not only a popular food joint to Chicagoans, but it is known across the U.S. for its unique and original fried chicken. Originating in Chicago, Harold’s is also located in Detroit, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Dallas. However, we often become frequent consumers of restaurants like Harold’s, without knowing the history behind the legacy of the business. So, let’s take a quick look behind the name.

Harold’s Chicken is a black-owned restaurant. Launched in 1950 by the late Chicago entrepreneur Harold Pierce, Harold’s Chicken was inspired after Pierce and his wife, Hilda, noticed that the fast-food industry avoided establishing large restaurants within the black community.

As the owners of the historical H & H, a Chicago restaurant which specialized in dumplings and chicken feet, Harold’s Chicken was established shortly afterwards for the black community. Though the constant battle of legal and social obstacles aimed to prohibit the establishment of successful black-owned business, Harold’s Chicken is a success and survival story because it  is still thriving.

The Secret behind the Taste: 
Unlike other popular fast-food restaurants that specialize in fried chicken, Harold’s Chicken uses a different cooking medium to get the job done. While some chains use only vegetable oil, Harold’s Chicken is cooked in beef tallow and half vegetable oil. This key difference is what gives the chicken an original and Southern styled flavor than others.

In addition, Harold’s does not prepare fried chicken until you order!  Freshness is key.

The Menu:
Combo dinners, fish dinners, wing dinners, chicken buckets, and desserts. The basic Harold’s Chicken dinner may consist of half or quarter chicken, served with french fries, two pieces of white bread and a cup of Cole slaw. Harold’s offers white, all dark meat or a mix of the two, gizzards, and a side of okra. Chicago’s Harold’s Chicken hubs are known for drowning its chicken and fries in a delicious mild or hot sauce.

For more information about menu options and locations, visit Harold’s Chicken at www.harold’

Originally written by Victoria Joshua and published in Bean Soup Times.


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