Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar opens, serving its famous fried chicken in Charlotte’s University City
A popular Chicago fast-food fried chicken chain with a hookah bar opens Feb. 3 in Charlotte’s University City area.
Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar is opening on East McCullough Drive in the former Total Wine & More spot near a Chex Grill & Wings location, bringing competition to the area’s chicken wing scene. Tea Fusion Cafe and Jerk & Juice are nearby, as well.
The location is owned by Eliot Mosby and his sister, Bobbie Robinson, who are from the Chicago area. Mosby got to know Charlotte while traveling for a previous job.
“I just fell in love with Charlotte over 10 years ago, so it’s always been a place I knew I wanted to call home and just didn’t know how it was going to come about,” Mosby told CharlotteFive.
In Charlotte, the restaurant is also teaming up with hip-hop radio station Power 98 FM to hold Friday Night Live events. A DJ and radio personalities from the station will be on hand, holding live broadcasts at Harold’s from 7-10 p.m. every Friday night, Mosby said.
Bar, brunch and hookah
Harold’s is known for its fried chicken and “mild sauce,” according to the restaurant’s website. The Charlotte restaurant will have a full bar and hookah bar, plus something new to the Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar brand — a weekend brunch offering featuring specialty French toast.
The brunch offerings will begin March 3, Mosby said.
“It will be like breakfast-meets-dessert on a plate,” said Mosby, who also owns a diner in Montclair, N.J.
Harold Pierce opened the first Harold’s Chicken Shack restaurant 72 years ago on Chicago’s South side “because larger fast-food chains tended to avoid the African-American neighborhoods,” according to the company.
“Harold’s became one of the few examples of a thriving fast-food chain that was owned by, and primarily served, the Chicago African-American community,” the website states.
In recent years, Harold’s has expanded to areas throughout Chicago, like downtown and the north side, where Black-owned businesses were previously prevented from opening.
Harold’s has since opened locations in Indiana, Michigan, Las Vegas, Wisconsin, California and Georgia.
The restaurants had primarily served takeout, until 10 years ago with the Atlanta store opening as Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar. It was the first sit-down restaurant with a full bar, and has been the model for future stores.
On Harold’s chicken menu
Expect Chicago-style flavored chicken and fish dinners with Harold’s signature mild and hot sauces.
The menu includes appetizers like fried green tomatoes and pizza puff. There are fish sandwiches and shrimp po boys.
Dinner options, which include combo options, are fried chicken, fish like whiting, catfish and perch, shrimp, liver and gizzards.
Fried wings and fries, buckets and fish dinners are also on the menu.
Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar
Location: 440 McCullough Drive, Ste A-100, Charlotte, NC 28262
Cuisine: American, fried chicken