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Restaurant Sun Apr 15 2007

The History of Harold's

In this week's Tribune Magazine, there is a short article on Harold's Chicken Shack, which draws mostly from a longer article "The First Family of Fried Chicken," which was published this week (correction: a year ago) in the Reader. The two articles point out that Harold's, despite being a chain, is really just a series of loosely-related chicken restaurants, each with its own particular appearance and modifications to the original fried chicken recipe.

In addition, each franchise that appeared after the original store was opened in 1950 has offered different menu items, which explains the often loud advertisements in the windows for fish, burgers, pizza, and other items you wouldn't normally expect to find at a chicken restaurant. Apparently, each store has its own assigned number, even though the numbering scheme makes no real sense and once one store closes, a newly opened store may be given the number of the closed one. This all makes for a quirky, heart-warming story about the triumph of local business-owners over the uniformity of fast food chains, but the problem is in the unpredictability of the product. According to Mike Sula, who wrote the Reader article, there's no telling "which ones fry good chicken." Therefore, eat at your own risk.

martha / April 15, 2007 3:37 PM

Actually, Mike's article on Harold's ran last year in the Reader -- not sure what prompted Kogan to discover it now. It's online here: www.chicagoreader.com/pdf/060414/060414_harolds.pdf (pdf only)


martha / April 15, 2007 3:37 PM

Actually, Mike's article on Harold's ran last year in the Reader -- not sure what prompted Kogan to discover it now. It's online here: www.chicagoreader.com/pdf/060414/060414_harolds.pdf (pdf only)


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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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