For Mount Pleasant natives Bobby Perry and Chip Roberts, what started as an idea to help two friends who didn’t necessarily want to grow up has now turned into a business that won’t stop growing.
When the owners of the now famous Kickin’ Chicken were students at the University of South Carolina, they knew a few things – good food, good drinks and that they wanted to work for themselves. That and a few thousand dollars were all it took to get Perry and Roberts off and running in what was, at the time, primarily a delivery restaurant on Morrison Drive.
Fast-forward almost 20 years, and that small restaurant has grown substantially and is now a staple in the Charleston area. With five restaurants, one food truck and a new restaurant opening in Mount Pleasant next year, the Kickin’ Chicken is a favorite with families and football fans alike.
The current Mount Pleasant location, located on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, became the third restaurant the owners opened about 15 years ago, just after their third partner, David Miller, joined the team.
The one item that the owners agree helped fuel their success? The restaurant’s namesake – the Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich.
As Perry describes, “It’s a different take on the chicken sandwich. Hand-breaded and fried or grilled tenders are sliced and placed in a fresh hoagie roll, topped with bacon bits and provolone, then toasted up and served with our very own special sauce. It’s been a staple for lunch, dinner and hangovers for nearly 20 years.”
While the Kickin’ Chicken sandwich may be what they are known for, there are plenty of other items on the Mount Pleasant menu to tempt even the most finicky palates.
“Even after 20 years, I still eat at the restaurant regularly,” said Roberts. “Depends on the day, but some of my favorites are the Buffalo Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich and the Parmesan Ranch Burger. But it’s hard to beat our hand-breaded nuggets or chicken tenders.”
Its not just the food that has kept the Kickin’ Chicken, well, kickin’ for all of these years. From the beginning, the partners made a commitment as a company to devote themselves to their guests, employees and their community.
Each of the owners can name several people who have been with the company for over 10 years. Over time, employees have built relationships with patrons, and it’s that sense of community, plus the great food and reasonable prices, that the partners say is a big part of the restaurant’s success.
These hometown guys are excited to be a part of the Coleman Boulevard dining experience, with their new Mount Pleasant location slated to open in early 2017.
According to Roberts, “The Mount Pleasant location will be a new and improved building and location with a new interior design that will encompass our vibe and feel but will not stray too far from what our loyal guests expect when they come in to visit us. It will also feature an inside/outside bar, with lots of local and craft drafts on tap, a full bar, all opening up onto Coleman Boulevard, making for lively patio dining.”
To learn more about all things chicken, check out the Kickin’ Chicken website at kickinchicken.com.
By Anne Harris