Harold's Chicken Shack
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|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Harold Pierce (founder)|
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; 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. Harold's became one of the few examples of a thriving fast food chain that was owned by, and primarily served, the black community.
Connection to culture
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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.
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