Kennedy Fried Chicken

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Kennedy Fried Chicken<
IndustryFast food
FoundedMay 16, 1969; 50 years ago (1969-05-16)
New York City, United States
FounderTaeb Zia[1] and Abdul Karim[2]
HeadquartersNew York City, United States
ProductsFried chicken and related Southern American foods

Kennedy Fried Chicken and Crown Fried Chicken are common restaurant names primarily in the New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Baltimore areas of the United States, but also 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. There are also a number in the West Coast, primarily in California. A number of these restaurants, located in other states, are named New York Fried Chicken, essentially designed in the same manner and offering the same general menu as Kennedy and Crown Fried Chicken. It is not an actual franchise; every "Kennedy" named chicken restaurant is independently owned and operated by different individuals but consist of almost the same menu.


Kennedy Fried Chicken was founded on May 16, 1969, 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.[3] He immigrated to the United States in 1977 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.[1] After spending about three years learning how to run a fast food business, he decided to open his own fried chicken restaurant as he could be as good as others and sell 15-20% cheaper.[1]

Kennedy Fried Chicken was named after assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy, "because Afghans are fond of the former president."[1][3] During the 1980s and 1990s many of the same restaurants have opened across New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and several other states, including West Coast states such as California. There are estimated to be about 1,000.[citation needed]

The restaurants[edit]

Inside a Crown Fried Chicken at 3706 North Broad Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For the most part the restaurants share the same concept, if not the same menus. In addition to fried chicken they may offer fried fish, hot wings, short ribs, shrimp, burgers, pizza, beef patties on coco bread, sandwiches, fries, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, onion rings, sweet potato pies and a variety of flavors of ice cream for dessert.[4]

Some restaurants are in dangerous areas of the most dangerous cities,[5] serving from behind bulletproof glass, especially at night. Those in safer suburbs have added to their menus Middle Eastern dishes such as kebabs with rice,[6] but Kennedy's and Crown's specialties are the deep-fried chicken (described as "not too dry or too soggy").[4] Chicken and food are quite often ordered a la carte. Not all dishes are available for takeout and delivery. Menus are usually posted on the walls with photographs.

Due to the tendency of these restaurants to appear in inner-city locations, Kennedy, Crown, and New York Fried Chicken are sometimes referred to as "ghetto chicken".[7]

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 was believed[according to whom?] to be owned and operated by immigrants from Burkina Faso in Western Africa.[8]

Legal matters[edit]

The restaurants are traditionally owned and operated mostly by Afghan-Americans but are not formally connected, although their concept, menus and prices are similar.[2] The multitude of owners has caused problems for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in New York; since the 1990s Kentucky Fried Chicken has tried to enforce trademark rules against some of the Kennedy Fried Chicken restaurants, many of which used the "KFC" abbreviation, and have been known to decorate their restaurants in red and white colors similar to that of KFC.

Trademark controversy[edit]

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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d 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.
  2. ^ a b Steven Kurutz, ed. (August 15, 2004). "Chicken Little". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c 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. 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!
  4. ^ a b Restaurant Review: A Fast Food King With Many Choices, Southeast Queens Press, undated
  5. ^ "Camden will try again to impose a curfew on late-night takeouts". March 28, 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  6. ^ "Fort Washington restaurant brings kabob to south county". December 4, 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-24.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Smith, Andrew. Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love To Eat, pg. 387, ISBN 978-0-313-39393-8, 2011, Greenwood Publishing, Santa Barbara, California.
  8. ^ see: Obama Fried Chicken or Obama Fried Chicken & Pizza at for details.

External links[edit]