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Game On!

Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken scores big with taste buds

Shaquille O’Neal may have scored plenty of slam dunks on the court during his legendary basketball career, but now the 15-time NBA All-Star is scoring a slam dunk in the culinary world thanks to Big Chicken.

The fast-casual chicken concept opened its first location just off of the Las Vegas Strip in 2018 and has since opened more than a dozen locations across the country, including one in southwest Las Vegas earlier this year. Best known for its tasty crispy chicken sandwiches — like Uncle Jerome’s Nashville Hot chicken sandwich created by O’Neal’s longtime bodyguard, Jerome Crawford — Big Chicken fuses O’Neal’s homecooked childhood favorites, including a Cheez-It-crusted mac n’ cheese inspired by his mom Lucille’s recipe, with today’s trending flavors.

“Being based here in Las Vegas, we know that many locals don’t travel to the Strip and neighboring locations on a regular basis, so we wanted to bring a location where locals can enjoy Big Chicken on a regular basis with a drive-thru to offer the added convenience,” said Big Chicken’s managing partner, Matthew Silverman. “We also use the Tropicana location as one of our test stores, so at any given time, you may see us trying out new menu items before we roll them out to all our other locations.”

Silverman noted that while O’Neal may stop by the restaurant whenever he's in town to get The Original Big Chicken sandwich “with American cheese and no pickles,” it was important for the Hall of Famer that Big Chicken’s food spoke for itself. Aside from an autographed Shaquille O’Neal jersey on the wall and other subtle touches throughout the 68-seat eatery, like an NBA Jam arcade game that guests can play for free, Big Chicken isn’t themed after the basketball icon or even the sport in general. Instead, the true stars of Big Chicken are its preservative-free premium chicken that’s been humanely raised with no cages, hormones, or antibiotics and its shakes made with all-natural Southern vanilla ice cream produced using hormone-free milk.

Although there are currently only two locations in Las Vegas, Big Chicken recently announced a franchise agreement with local restaurateur Vincent Alba to open eight additional locations in Las Vegas and Henderson in the future. With nearly 250 Big Chicken locations in development worldwide, soon Las Vegas foodies will never be far away from its flavorful offerings — even while on vacation!

HOURS: Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

LOCATION: 9595 West Tropicana Avenue

WEBSITE: bigchicken.com

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