ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando’s food scene is seeing a lot of new openings and many of those new dining spots are focused on serving up chicken.
There is a mix of both independent and chain restaurants, most serving it fried, some going for a rotisserie-style, but poultry is the common denomination in all of them.
With so many opening up around the same time, it can be hard to keep track of them all. So, let’s try to get all our chickens in a row.
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Here’s what we know, so far, about all the chicken restaurants opening, or recently opened, in the Orlando area.
Itsa Chicken just recently opened a walk-up window at Whiskey Lou’s, 121 N. Bumby Ave., in Orlando’s Milk District. The restaurant began its soft opening on Tuesday, Oct. 19, according to its Instagram account.
Itsa focuses on chicken sandwiches, but also offers nuggets and strips in addition to mac ‘n cheese, fries and cole slaw on the side.
At least for now, the walk-up window will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Mondays. Itsa had planned on being open until 8 p.m. each day but decided to scale back its hours while in its soft opening, according to a social media post.
Chicken Guy! is a fast-casual concept from the Mayor of Flavortown, Guy Fieri. The new location is opening up in Winter Park on South Orlando Avenue. This will be the second location in the area, the first being at Disney Springs.
This will be the first Chicken Guy! location to feature a drive-thru window. The company had originally said in June that it was planning a “late summer” opening, but renovation of the former Steak ‘n Shake location is still ongoing and no official opening date has been provided. You can learn more about the location by clicking here.
Colbie’s Southern Kissed Chicken
Despite the name, Colbie’s Southern Kissed Chicken is a transplant from the North. Colbie’s is based in New Jersey, where it already has two locations.
The fast-casual fried chicken chain is planning to open up at 3267 Vineland Road near Kissimmee. This will be the third location for Colbie’s overall and the first in Florida.
The menu focuses on chicken sandwiches, tenders and nuggets, but also offers salads, soups and breakfast items.
No opening date has been announced. News 6 has reached out to Colbie’s for more information. This story will be updated if the company responds.
JAM Hot Chicken
JAM Hot Chicken began life as a pop-up and is now working to open its first brick-and-mortar location. The new location sits at 400 W. New England Ave. in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square.
As the name implies, the restaurant is focused on serving up Nashville-style hot chicken. Right now, no firm opening date has been set. Andrew Scala, the owner, said he opens to be open before the end of fall. You can see Scala on the Florida Foodie podcast by clicking here.
Don’t let the name fool you. bb.q Chicken serves up fried chicken. The chain comes to the Sunshine State from South Korea. It will be opening up its first Florida location in Orlando’s Mills 50 District, right on E. Colonial Drive.
In addition to fried chicken, bb.q offers some recognizable American sides — onion rings, fries, mozzarella sticks — along with more Korean-inspired fare such as kimchi fried rice, fried dumplings and pickled radish.
The company has said it hopes to open by the end of October, but said that it may be delayed until early November and no firm date has been set. Read more about it by clicking here.
Another foreign exchange student settling into Orlando is Jollibee. This fried-chicken chain hails from the Philippines. In addition to chicken, it also offers burgers, hotdogs, a burger steak — which appears reminiscent of Salisbury steak — and its own take on spaghetti.
Jollibee will be opening its first Central Florida location at 11891 E. Colonial Drive, not far from the University of Central Florida campus.
The company did not offer a firm opening date, saying only that it was planning to open in early 2022. You can read more about it here.
Cowboy Chicken is choosing Central Florida for its first locations in the Sunshine State. According to a news release, the first franchise will set up shop at 3290 Margaritaville Blvd., just off of U.S. Highway 192 and about 4 miles from Walt Disney World.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the name, Cowboy Chicken is originally from Texas with most of its locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It focuses on wood-fired rotisserie chicken.
The first Cowboy Chicken location in Kissimmee is expected to open in 2022, according to the release. For more details, click here.
Chick’nCone plans to set up shop in Winter Park. The restaurant chain claims to offer a “fork free” spin on chicken and waffles, opting to serve its poultry in a waffle cone.
The chicken is fried and can be tossed in a variety of sauces, according to a news release. Its menu shows that it also offers tenders and chicken sandwiches, along with cajun fries, corn, mac ’n cheese and milkshakes.
The chain, which started in Pennsylvania, has 28 locations across the U.S. and in the United Arab Emirates, according to its website. The franchisee, Michael Vaz, said the restaurant will be opening at 501 N. Orlando Ave. He said he plans to open the restaurant in January 2022,
Bojangles is coming back to Central Florida, eventually. The North Carolina-based chain has been tight-lipped on when and where exactly the Orlando-area restaurants will open. News 6 has reached out for more details and this story will be updated if the company responds.
Bojangles had said in May that 15 locations would be coming to the Orlando area. The chicken chain was last in the Orlando area in 2015. The franchisee closed up eight shops across Central Florida and left the restaurant business altogether right before Christmas that year.
Read more about Bojangles coming back to Orlando by clicking here.
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