Daves Hot Chicken restaurant in Florida supported by Drake and other stars

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Super-spicy chicken fans can expect deals so hot you have to sign a waiver before attempting the scorching hottest level.

Dave’s Hot Chickena celebrity-backed Nashville-inspired chain that offers seven levels of spice — including the dreaded Reaper level — is coming to Palm Beach and Martin counties.

Local franchisees of the Los Angeles-born chain plan to open seven locations over the next three years, according to one of the partners.

The first of the fast-casual restaurants will likely open in West Palm Beach or Palm Beach Gardens, franchise partner Blair Bitove said. This location is expected to debut by the end of the year or early 2023, she said.

The Dave's Hot Chicken restaurant chain, founded in Los Angeles, has establishments across the United States, including this one in Lakewood, Ohio.

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The spicy chicken chain has its roots in East Hollywood, where it started as a pop-up parking lot in 2017. It quickly gained a loyal following – and later celebrity investors such as Drake, Samuel L. Jackson, Maria Shriver, Michael Strahan and others.

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Bitove says she became a fan of Dave while a student at the University of Southern California.

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“I love fried chicken and I love spiciness, but this was so unique it was enjoyable,” said Bitove, who credits the brand’s founding chef, Dave Kopushyan, who trained at the prestigious French Laundry restaurant in Thomas Keller in Yountville, the realization of hot chicken “raised flavors”.

A Toronto native who grew up in Jupiter, Bitove loved the concept to his businessman father, John Bitove, founder of the Toronto Raptors.

“The food speaks for itself. It is a simple operation. We thought it would be a great idea to bring to Canada,” she says. In 2020, his father’s company signed a deal to bring 30 locations of Dave to Canada.

Offering seven optional levels of spiciness, Dave's Hot Chicken menu focuses on tenders and sliders.

Bringing Dave’s to Florida was a natural progression for her family, since the Jupiter area has been their home away from Toronto for years, she says. She teamed up with two industry veterans, Rob Shawger and Matt Abdoo, to make the local franchise deal a reality.

“Once we had the chance to try the food to see what it was all about and meet their team, we were immediately won over,” Abdoo said in a press release.

Abdoo is also executive chef and partner of New York’s Pig Beach BBQ restaurants, a concept that will open June 30 on South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. Shawger is also a Pig Beach partner. This brand has nothing to do with Dave’s.

To find a Dave’s Hot Chicken restaurant, visit DavesHotChicken.com.

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