Harold's Chicken Shack

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Harold's Chicken Shack
Industry Restaurants
Genre Fast food
Founded 1950[1]
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
Key people
Harold Pierce (founder)
Products Fried chicken
Website haroldschicken55.com

Harold's Chicken Shack (also referred to as Harold's Chicken, or simply Harold's) is a chain of fried chicken restaurants located primarily in Chicago, Illinois. Harold's has been a notable part of Chicago's South Side culture and is known for its uniquely prepared chicken. Harold's Chicken is also available in Northwest Indiana; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa;[2] Peoria, Illinois, and Momence, Illinois.


Harold Pierce, an African-American Chicago entrepreneur, and his wife, Hilda, founded the restaurant in 1950 as a small operation on 39th Street. The name of the restaurant was H&H, and they specialized in dumplings and chicken feet, both common soul foods. Gene Rosen, a friend who owned a poultry shop nearby, supplied chicken to Pierce. The character of Harold's developed primarily out of necessity, because the larger fast food chains tended to avoid African-American neighborhoods. In turn, Chicago's legal and social obstacles to black-owned businesses at the time prevented Harold's from expanding into downtown or the North Side.[3] Harold's became one of the few examples of a thriving fast food chain that was owned by, and primarily served, the black community.

Harold's Chicken Shack on South Wabash Avenue (#62) 2007 January 10
Harold's Chicken Shack (#62) 2007 January 31

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, Chance the Rapper, Freddie Gibbs, Lupe Fiasco and Dreezy. Rapper Wale stated in the song That Way, that Harold's Chicken was over rated. Top Dawg Entertainment rapper Kendrick Lamar mentioned Harold's Chicken in his song, Jealous, where he claimed he loved it so much he flew a private jet there straight from Rome.

Harold's has been shown in a scene on the television show Shameless, as well as part of the music video for BJ The Chicago Kid's It's True.

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. ^ "Chicago fried chicken chain coming to Corridor | The Gazette". The Gazette. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  3. ^ Cooley, Will. "Moving On Out: Black Pioneering in Chicago, 1915-1950". Journal of Urban History. 36:4 (July 2010): 485–506.