Kennedy Fried Chicken
A Kennedy Fried Chicken in Brooklyn, New York City
|Founded||1975 (New York City)|
|Founder(s)||Taeb Zia and Abdul Karim|
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Products||Fried chicken and related Southern American foods|
Kennedy Fried Chicken, also known as Crown Fried Chicken, is a common restaurant name primarily in the New York-New Jersey area, but many other similar establishments are found in nearby smaller cities or towns along the Northeastern United States. Kennedy Fried Chickens typically compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in the inner city neighborhoods of several states along the East Coast of the United States. A number of them also exist in the West Coast of the United States, primarily in the state of California.
Kennedy Fried Chicken was founded in 1975 with its first restaurant on Nostrand Avenue in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. There is a dispute among the people involved in the business over who is the actual founder. Some claim that it is Abdul Karim while others say Taeb Zia was the early founder. Zia, an Afghan immigrant originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, is known by some as Zia Chicken or "Lau Chicken" and is regarded as the father of Kennedy Fried Chicken. He immigrated to the United States in 1972 and began working at a fast food restaurant by the name of Kansas Fried Chicken, which was owned by African-Americans at the time. Prior to that he was studying engineering in Baku, Azerbaijan. After spending about three years learning how to run a fast food business, he decided to open his own fried chicken restaurant.
Kennedy Fried Chicken was named after U.S. President John F. Kennedy, "because Afghans are fond of the former president." During the 1980s and 90s, many of the same restaurants have opened across New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and several other states. Some of these chicken outlets have even opened in the West Coast, in California. Their total number is roughly estimated to be approximately 1,000.
For the most part the restaurants share the same concept, if not the same menus. In addition to fried chicken, they also offer fried fish, hot wings, short ribs, shrimp, burgers, pizza, beef patties on coco bread, all sorts of sandwiches and heroes, fries, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, onion rings, sweet potato pies and a variety of flavors of ice cream for dessert.
Some restaurants are found in safer suburbs and have added to their menus middle eastern dishes such as kebabs with rice, but Kennedy's and Crown's specialties are the deep-fried chicken (described as "not too dry or too soggy"). Chicken and food are quite often ordered a la carte. The menu provided with takeout and delivery orders does not include all the restaurant's offerings, which are usually posted on its walls with accompanying large color photographs of the actual items.
In 2008, one Kennedy Fried Chicken restaurant in Harlem, New York changed its name to "Obama Fried Chicken" in honor of the election of President Barack Obama. This particular one is reported[according to whom?] to be owned and operated by immigrants from Burkina Faso in Western Africa.
The restaurants are traditionally owned and operated mostly by Afghan Americans but are not formally connected, although their menus and prices are similar. This lack of centralized control has posed huge problems for KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in New York. Since the 1990s, Kentucky Fried Chicken has tried to enforce trademark rules against the restaurants, which often use the "KFC" abbreviation and have been known to decorate their restaurants in red and white colors, similar to that of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In 2005 Abdul Haye, an Afghan immigrant since 1989 and a resident of Whitestone, Queens in New York City, registered Kennedy Fried Chicken as a trademark. He has been attempting to enforce the trademark against other restaurants with mixed results.
"I'm declaring war against all the Afghans in New York who have stolen my name and my idea... Their poor-quality chicken is going to kill my reputation... I am the only real Kennedy!"—Abdul Haye, February 2011
Notable people who worked at Kennedy Fried Chicken
- Simon, Julian Lincoln (1999). The economic consequences of immigration 2. United States: University of Michigan Press. p. 224. ISBN 0-472-08616-2. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Steven Kurutz, ed. (August 15, 2004). "Chicken Little". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- Dan Bilefsky, ed. (February 13, 2011). "A Chicken War in New York, Where Afghans Rule the Roost". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- Restaurant Review: A Fast Food King With Many Choices, Southeast Queens Press, undated
- "Fort Washington restaurant brings kabob to south county". December 4, 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- see: Obama Fried Chicken or Obama Fried Chicken & Pizza at Flickr.com for details.
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