Florida Foodie: Chicken Fire outgrows food cart, opens brick-and-mortar restaurant

Chicken Fire is now too big for the trailer where it started

Chicken Fire owner Kwame Boakye talks to Florida Foodie ahead of the opening of his brick-and-mortar restaurant.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Kwame Boakye knows that hard work pays off. From Akron, Ohio, Boakye was raised primarily by his grandmother, as his mother worked multiple jobs to support them. He says he took that work ethic to school and received several degrees, including a Master’s in Business Administration.

A little more than a year ago, he decided to start Chicken Fire. The food cart served up what he calls “soulful hot chicken.” Despite being born and raised in the Midwest, Boakye says his grandmother was from the South and brought that heritage into her cooking. It’s a tradition he carries on with Chicken Fire.

The food cart started in October 2019. Things were going well, but about five months in the coronavirus pandemic arrived. Stay-at-home orders forced many businesses to close but much of the food service industry was allowed to stay open.

Through it all, Boakye says his business stayed open and he was able to retain his employees, even though things looked grim at times. Despite those challenges, Boakye used Chicken Fire as a way to give back the community by providing free meals to kids who were out of school.

Chicken Fire ultimately flourished and the business has grown. The trailer where it all started is retired and Chicken Fire is now moving into it’s first brick-and-mortar location in Orlando’s Coytown neighborhood.

Boakye spoke to Florida Foodie all about his business and the ups and downs that brought him to this big moment. He also shares his thoughts on how much spice is too much and the must have meal for anyone checking out Chicken Fire for the first time.

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Florida Foodie is a weekly podcasts from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at how what we eat and how we eat it impacts us here in Florida and what it means for everyone, everywhere.

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.