Dave’s Hot Chicken planned for Fort Wayne but not soon

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Never heard of Dave’s Hot Chicken? If all goes to plan, you will. The quick serve restaurant is expected to rocket from southern California across the country, including Fort Wayne.

Three men associated with Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, Tyler Freeland, Todd Hollman and Matt Fortney, have inked a deal to open 28 locations in Indiana and Ohio.

Hollman anticipates the first of their locations will be in Indianapolis but if the right location were found in Fort Wayne, they might start here. He doubts any of their locations would be ready before October of 2021, likely later.

Hollman says they were impressed by the food – “best tasting sandwich ever,” Freeland told him – and by Dave’s Hot Chicken’s commitment to its people.

“In addition to the delicious food that Dave’s Hot Chicken has to offer, what really stood out to Todd, Matt and me, is how people-focused the brand is. It’s one of the many factors that made the franchise opportunity so intriguing” said Freeland in a press release. “There’s a wealth of potential in these markets to grow Dave’s Hot Chicken and our team is excited to tap into it.

“As we continue to expand in key markets throughout the Midwest, it’s vital that we partner with seasoned operators like Tyler, Todd and Matt to ensure success right out of the gate,” adds Bill Phelps, CEO of Dave’s Hot Chicken. “Their multi-unit experience is invaluable as we introduce the craveable food of Dave’s Hot Chicken to more people in Indiana and Ohio.”

The group will focus on adding 15 locations throughout Indiana, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Lafayette and Bloomington. In Ohio, 13 locations are expected to open in the Columbus area. In addition to joining Dave’s Hot Chicken, the group owns and operates 45 Pizza Hut restaurants in northeast and central Indiana.

Founded by classically-trained chef Dave Kopushyan and three friends in early 2017, Dave’s Hot Chicken initially opened as a parking lot pop-up, with lines quickly wrapping around the block. Since then, the brand has exploded in popularity and now has multiple brick-and-mortar locations open in Southern California.

Specializing in hot chicken tenders and sliders, with spice levels ranging from “No Spice” to “Reaper,” each restaurant also serves sides of house-made Kale Slaw, creamy Mac & Cheese and crispy Fries or Cheese Fries.

Additional investors in Dave’s include Good Morning America anchor and former football star Michael Strahan and the highest grossing actor of all time, Samuel L. Jackson.

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