Chicken in the Rough

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Chicken in the Rough
Restaurant chain and former franchise
IndustryFast casual restaurant
FoundersBeverly and Rubye Osborne
ProductsFried chicken, shoestring potatoes, biscuits and honey

Chicken in the Rough, also known as Beverly's Chicken in the Rough, is a fried chicken restaurant chain and former franchise.[1][2] It was one of the earliest restaurant chain franchises in the United States.[3][4][5][6] Chicken in the Rough was founded by Beverly and Rubye Osborne in 1936 in Oklahoma City, and the restaurant's specialty half a fried chicken dish was also created in 1936.[1][6][7] The dish itself was also referred to as "Chicken in the Rough", and consisted of half a fried chicken, shoestring potatoes and a biscuit with honey.[8] Three restaurants presently serve the dish today, located in Port Huron, Michigan and Canadian neighbor Sarnia, Ontario.[9] The chain's logo was an image of a rooster smoking a cigar and carrying a golf club.[6][10] The chain also used a logo of "Chicken's Caddie", which depicted a chick acting as a golf caddie, stating "I'll gladly be fried for Chicken in the Rough".


The restaurant's name was devised on a cancelled 1936 road trip to California, in which Beverly spilled a picnic basket of chicken after Rubye hit a bump in the road while driving on the Oklahoma prairie.[6][8] Rubye remarked something to the effect of "This is really chicken in the rough".[1][6][8] After this occurred, they turned around and headed back to Oklahoma City.[1][8] Another notion is that the name was devised on a family picnic "where silverware had been forgotten", and that the consumption of the chicken without silverware constituted eating it "in the rough", using one's hands.[10] However, the official website of the chain states that the former occurred.[1]

Beverly's Pancake Corner in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, now called Beverly's Pancake House, has been described as the "home base" of Chicken in the Rough. Three additional restaurant locations presently serve the dish.[11] The half-chicken dish continued to be served at Beverly's Pancake House, where it's prepared according to its original recipe.[6][12] The first standalone Chicken in the Rough restaurant was opened on U.S. Route 66 at 2429 North Lincoln in 1936, and was initially a small drive-in restaurant with nine stools and four booths.[6] The restaurant was significantly expanded to seat 1,100 people, and became a place that was visited by travelers, film stars and state executives.[6] Celebrities who were friends with the Osbornes and patrons of Beverly's Pancake Corner restaurants include Bob Hope and Gene Autry.[8] Beverly's Pancake House has a framed black-and-white photo on a wall showing Bob Hope with a birthday cake that the restaurant made him one year.[8] In 1961, the building was demolished and the state capitol complex was then constructed there.[6]


Chicken in the Rough was the first nationally franchised restaurant chain in the United States.[6][13] In 1937, the chain had locations on Route 66 in the U.S. states of Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois.[6] In 1949, an extraordinary grill was designed that simultaneously fried and steamed chicken, after which time franchising began.[10] During its heyday, the chain had seven locations in Oklahoma City and nearly 300 franchise locations, including franchises in South Africa and Hawaii.[1][6][10] In the 1960s, after the franchise was sold to an investor group, 68 franchises remained.[10] In 1974 Osborne's partner, Randy Shaw, purchased the restaurant chain.[13]


Four restaurants continue to serve the dish: one in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, two restaurants in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and one in Port Huron, Michigan.[1][11] The dish is presently prepared with a unique breading and preparation method, and cooked in a deep fryer.[8] Patrons of Beverly's Pancake Corner from the times of their youth continue to eat at the restaurant, which has included some who remember the first day it opened.[2][8] When the Beverly's Pancake Corner location at Northwest Expressway and Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City, where it existed since 1956, was razed in 2008, people took pieces of concrete and bricks from the building as mementos.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "History of the "meal that created food service and fried chicken franchising"". Chicken In The Rough. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b Bacharach, Phil (2003). "Beverly's Pancake Corner" (PDF). Oklahoma Today. pp. 7–11. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. ^ Koutsky, K.S.; Koutsky, L.; Ostman, E. (2003). Minnesota Eats Out: An Illustrated History. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-87351-452-1. Chicken in the Rough was one of the earliest restaurant franchises
  4. ^ Stephens, D.M. (2003). Soldiers of the Law. Xlibris Corporation. p. 336. ISBN 978-1-4134-3269-5. Rubye and Beverly Osburne originated "Chicken in the Rough," the world's first franchise food dish in 1937[self-published source]
  5. ^ Sonderman, J. (2014). Postcards from Route 66: The Ultimate Collection from America's Main Street. Voyageur Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7603-4611-2. Beverly and Rubye Osborne were among the first to franchise fast food in the United States
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Clark, M.; Wallis, M. (2003). The Route 66 Cookbook: Comfort Food from the Mother Road. Council Oak Books. pp. 94&ndash, 95. ISBN 978-1-57178-128-4.
  7. ^ al, M.K.W. Greetings from Route 66. Voyageur Press. pp. 104&ndash, 107. ISBN 978-1-61060-397-3.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bailey, Brianna (July 25, 2014). "Locally developed delicacy, Chicken in the Rough, once sold at restaurants nationwide". The Oklahoman. Retrieved May 2, 2015. Page 2 of article.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d e Jakle, J.A.; Sculle, K.A. (2002). Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age. Road and American culture. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 217&ndash, 218. ISBN 978-0-8018-6920-4.
  11. ^ a b "Locations". Chicken in the Rough. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Beverly's Pancake Corner, their famed chicken in the rough". Oklahoma Gazette. April 28, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Moore, Bob (April 29, 2015). "Keeping It Straight: Chicken in the Rough: Road Food Supreme". Kingman Daily Miner. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.

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