Austin restaurant owner to take Chubby’s Hot Chicken to the suburbs

Hear the hotheads, Prentiss Harris, owner of Big Shrimpin, 5963 W. Madison St. in Austin, is about to bring her version of Nashville Hot Chicken to Forest Park. Chubby’s Hot Chicken, is just weeks away from opening in the former home of Small Batch Barbecue, 7441 Madison St.

For discerning foodies, this won’t be the first time they’ve tasted Harris-style fried chicken. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he opened Chubby’s Char House, known for its burgers and chicken sandwiches, in the same location that now houses Big Shrimpin.

Big Shrimpin’s Fish and Sauces | Melissa Elsmo

Harris closed Chubby’s in favor of a more streamlined seafood menu to reduce prep and staffing needs during tough times for restaurants. With hand-breaded shrimp, catfish and signature Cajun salmon rolling out of the Austin counter-service establishment, Harris set his sights on opening a second restaurant where he could bring his passion. to serve pristine fried chicken.

The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Harris who grew up in Cabrini Green, falling in love with music and eating food prepared by his mother and grandmother. Her mother was known to be experimental in the kitchen and turned out uncommon meals and homemade baked goods.

“She was a very good cook,” Harris said. “I mean everyone thinks their mum is a great cook, but I realized when I was older and started eating at other people’s homes that she really was one of the best. “

Following in the footsteps of his mother and grandmother, Harris began his own culinary journey when he was just eight years old. He was inspired by cartoons early on, learning to flip pancakes for his siblings by watching Looney Toons, The Smurfs and even Disney’s Gummi Bears. As he began to embrace his natural abilities in the kitchen, Harris headed to the library to get his hands on some picture-laden cookbooks to fuel his creativity.

Harris attributes his artistic side to being a Pisces – he was drawn to music, haircuts and drawing almost as much as he loved cooking. Despite his varied interests, Harris, a self-proclaimed “open book,” admits he’s turned to the streets.

The Foghorn Leghorn offers fresh jalapeno salad and spicy Nashville chicken. | Melissa Elsmo/food writer

“There was so much money to be made there and we didn’t have role models in many other careers,” Harris said. “Desperation breeds mistakes and I’ve made a few, but I never gave up on my restaurant dreams.”

After a period of deep reflection, Harris channeled her energy in a new direction. He initially focused on music with considerable success and eventually chose to fulfill his childhood dream of opening his own restaurant. Initially, he wanted to open a hot dog and burger stand, but a trip to Roost Chicken and Biscuits, 2011 W. Roscoe St. in Chicago, shifted his focus to chicken.

“I had never had fried chicken in Nashville before and the Roost made these hot chicken tacos,” Harris said. “I loved them and thought I might do something like that.”

The sando is bound to stand out on Madison Street in Forest Park, just as it did in Chicago. A duo of perfectly fried Nashville-style hot chicken tenders is served on a bun with a homemade cucumber jalapeno salad. Chubby’s Hot Chicken will also offer bone-in fried brisket and thigh wedges along with sides including collard greens, coleslaw, fried okra and macaroni and cheese.

“I want people who visit Chubby’s to understand the amount of love that goes into everything we do,” Harris said. “I want people to know that we buy the best ingredients and sell our food at a good price. We make consistency a priority in every item that hits the counter. »

CONTACT: [email protected]

About Walter Bartholomew

Check Also

Michael Mina restaurant pays homage to Alexander the Great

English Downtown San Francisco’s famed restaurant, Estiatorio Ornos, wants you to feel like an emperor …