JAM Hot Chicken plans soft opening of Winter Park restaurant

Restaurant set to open Tuesday at 11 a.m.

JAM Hot Chicken, 400 W. New England Ave. in Winter Park, prior to being remodeled (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

WINTER PARK, Fla. – After months of work, JAM Hot Chicken plans to begin the soft opening of its first brick-and-mortar location in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square on Tuesday.

The hot chicken pop-up turned restaurant made the announcement on social media Monday, saying that it would be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, adding that those hours may vary as the staff gets its footing.

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“We are starting off slow with a limited menu during this soft opening phase to our pars down and flow of service perfected,” the post reads. “(Bear) with us as we have a lot to learn but are going to strive each and every day to be better.”

JAM Hot Chicken originally announced it would be opening its first brick-and-mortar location in June.

The restaurant sits at 400 W. New England Ave. in Winter Park. Its menu focuses on Nashville and Los Angeles-inspired hot chicken.

Andrew Scala, the owner, said he was inspired to create JAM after his brother brought him to Howlin’ Rays in LA, where he tried hot chicken for the first time.

“It changed my life — the first time I had it,” Scala said on the Florida Foodie podcast.

Check out Andrew Scala’s episode of the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find every episode in the media player below:

Before attempting a brick-and-mortar location, Scala began doing pop-up service.

“(I) started doing curbside pickup straight from Instagram from my home — taking orders via direct message, kind of created like time slots. Did that for about like four or five times — like, for like four weeks consecutively — And then we did our second official pop-up at Whippoorwill.”

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About a year later, Scala signed a lease for a location in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square.

“When we saw it, I fell in love with it,” Scala said. “It just kind of it just made sense. The timing was right. Got a great deal on the space and I just thought, ‘Why not now?’”


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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.