Harold's Chicken Shack

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Harold's Chicken
GenreCasual dining Take out
Founded1950; 70 years ago (1950)[1]
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, United States
Key people
Harold Pierce (founder)
ProductsFried chicken
OwnerKristen Pierce
Number of employees
over 3,000

Harold's Chicken (also referred to as Harold's Chicken Shack) or simply Harold's) is a popular fried chicken restaurant based in Chicago, Illinois. The chain operates primarily in Chicago's predominantly black south side and south suburbs, but has additional locations in Peoria, Illinois, Northwest Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; Phoenix, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; and Los Angeles, California.[2]


Harold Pierce, an African-American Chicago entrepreneur, founded the restaurant in 1950 as a small operation on 39th Street. The name of the first restaurant was H&H (Harold&Hilda), and they specialized in dumplings and chicken feet, both common soul foods.[3]


Harold's Chicken Shack located primarily in Chicago, Illinois with 40 locations across the city particularly on its South Side. There are dozens of "shacks" on Chicago's South Side, several on the West Side and a few on the North Side. Harold's Chicken is also available in Northwest Indiana, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa,and Momence, Illinois on Route 1.[4]

Connection to culture[edit]

Harold's Chicken Shack is a notable part of the culture of Chicago's South Side. The restaurant is often alluded to by the hip-hop community. The chain has been referenced by Kanye West, Common, Rhymefest, JUICE, G Herbo, Chance the Rapper, Freddie Gibbs, Lupe Fiasco and Dreezy. Rapper Wale stated in the song That Way, that Harold's Chicken was overrated. Top Dawg Entertainment rapper Kendrick Lamar mentioned Harold's Chicken in Fredo Santana's song, "Jealous", in which Lamar is featured, where he claimed he loved it so much he flew a private jet there straight from Rome.[5]

In a November 2008 60 Minutes interview, former President Barack Obama mentions his first days of dating Michelle Obama and the "dumpy apartment" he lived in near Harold's Chicken Shack in the early 1990s.[6]

Harold's has been shown in a scene on the television show South Side, as well as part of the music video for BJ The Chicago Kid's "It's True". Harold's is also shown next to the bar visited early in the movie Weird Science.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The First Family of Fried Chicken" (PDF). Chicago Reader. 14 April 2006. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  2. ^ http://www.haroldschickenscorp.com/
  3. ^ Cooley, Will. "Moving On Out: Black Pioneering in Chicago, 1915-1950". Journal of Urban History. 36:4 (July 2010): 485–506.
  4. ^ "Harold's Chicken". haroldschickenonline.com. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  5. ^ https://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2018/02/07/lupe-fiascos-harolds-builds-on-chicago-hip-hops-historical-connection-to-the-fried-chicken-chain
  6. ^ https://newrepublic.com/article/46064/obama-quot60-minutesquot

Further reading[edit]