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Dave’s Hot Chicken to Open 14 Locations in Queens and Long Island

The Drake-backed chain that opened its first NYC spot last year is poised to saturate the region

An overhead photograph of a tray overflowing with chicken tenders, sandwiches, fries, and sides.
Dave’s Hot Chicken is on an East Coast expansion tear.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA
Melissa McCart is the editor for Eater New York.

Get ready for Dave’s Hot Chicken across Queens and Long Island, with 14 locations on track to open over the next five years.

The Los Angeles-based fast-food chain that hatched in 2017 in a parking lot opened its first NYC location in Midtown West in August. It was welcomed with 30-minute lines filled with people waiting to get their hands on tasty and halal Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches and tenders with varying heat levels from “no spice” to “reaper,” which Eater likened to an “edible supernova” at the time.

This round of expansion comes courtesy of John and Jeff Froccaro, who just signed a franchise agreement with the company. The operators are longtime fast-food operators, having opened over 40 Qdobas and Burger Kings in the area in the past 40 years, according to a spokesperson. The duo hasn’t yet signed a lease for every new storefront.

The new locations join a larger expansion plan in the tri-state area: The company previously committed to opening 20 locations of the hot chicken brand in the five boroughs, plus another 14 outposts in New Jersey. “As we continue to make waves with our expansion across the United States, it was a logical choice to make our entrance into the Big Apple and establish our presence in one of the premier markets in the world,” said Bill Phelps, CEO of Dave’s Hot Chicken, when the NYC locations were announced last year.

Dave’s Hot Chicken started as a parking lot pop-up, with Arman Oganesyan and his best friend and the first chef, Dave Kopushyan, along with brothers Tommy and Gary Rubenyan kicking off the first ones. In 2019, the team struck a deal to begin franchising with Wetzel’s Pretzels co-founder and former CEO, Bill Phelps, and movie producer John Davis.

In addition to Drake as an investor, Samuel L. Jackson has thrown money behind the brand, as has Good Morning America anchor and retired NFL player Michael Strahan. Today, Dave’s Hot Chicken has over 120 U.S. spots and has sold the rights to open another 600 or so locations; it’s among the fastest-growing restaurant chains in America, according to Restaurant Business and Technomic.