Local Entrepreneurs Bring Fast-Casual Brand to the Prairie State; Opens First of Three Locations
Slim Chickens, a leader in the “better chicken” segment of fast-casual restaurants, will be expanding its fresh chicken concept with unrivaled flavor to Illinois for the first time with an opening in East Peoria. The restaurant, which is located at 205 River Road, will open on November 16th and is being brought to the region by local entrepreneurs Dave Harris, director of operations, Jason Fischbach, general manager, and Dave Armel, business partner.
Focusing on fresh chicken, the brand has developed a niche in its sector of the restaurant industry for product quality that can’t be found anywhere else. With fresh ingredients and minimal freezer space in every restaurant, Slim Chickens honors a commitment to homemade recipes and strong supplier partnerships, ensuring guests can feel good about the food they eat. The down-home Southern brand offers diners hand-breaded or grilled chicken tenders paired with a choice of eight handmade dipping sauces or seven wing sauces for exceptional flavor that has earned admiration from both customers and critics. If guests want to switch it up, Slim Chickens also offers fresh salads, wraps and chicken and waffles. To offset the savory side of the menu, rotating desserts served in Mason jars are also available.
Harris has been in the hospitality business all of his life. His father was a franchisee of Brown’s Chicken, which initially exposed him to the industry, and inspired him to get a degree in hospitality management. Harris has worked in a variety of roles within restaurants, most recently running seven locations in the Chicagoland area for Applebee’s.
“When I began my career with Applebee’s, I quickly worked my way up to be promoted as one of the youngest area directors. I made a name for myself in that organization, and I’m planning to do the same with Slim Chickens,” said Harris. “We do chicken, and we do chicken well. That mindset and the simplified concept is what makes the brand so appealing, both to the guest and a franchise owner.”
The East Peoria location is a jumping off point for a larger growth strategy throughout the Illinois market. Harris and his partners own the rights to 52 counties in Central Illinois, and the western and southern Chicago suburbs, including Naperville, Joliet and Plainfield.
“Our plans are to open three locations initially and then continue to scale our presence across the state,” Harris said. “We’re the first fast-casual chicken-centric concept in East Peoria, and we’re excited to bring something different to the Midwest and Central Illinois.”
The brand has seen great success in the last several years, expanding from its home state of Arkansas into Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, emerging as a national player to establish fast-casual dining’s “better chicken” segment.
“Our top-of-the-line product offerings have propelled us into a league of our own, with no competitors doing quite what we are doing,” said Sam Rothschild, COO of Slim Chickens. “Our freshly made Southern dishes and homemade recipes make loyal customers feel good about the food they are eating, and we’re really proud to be able to share the brand experience with a new community.”
Slim Chickens opened in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a focus on culinary excellence in a fast-casual setting. Guests can always expect fresh chicken tenders and wings cooked to order and served with handmade dipping sauces made from scratch. With 26 locations today and a fanatical following in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, the eternally cool brand is an emerging national franchise leading the “better chicken” segment and intends to grow nationwide to a footprint of 600 restaurants over the next decade. Southern hospitality is not just for the South; everyone, everywhere can appreciate honest food and socializing with friends and neighbors. To learn more about the brand, visit slimchickens.com.