Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Are you ready for 'the best fried chicken in the world'?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 12:47 PM

  • Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken/Facebook
Fans of Memphis fried chicken are going to love this. Come summer, Midtown is to welcome Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, as the popular chain continues its Midwest expansion. Behind the development is Zack Skylar of Pea & Carrots Hospitality, known for conceptualizing several unique dining establishments in southeast Michigan and Illinois.

Under a new restaurant group, Schmaltz Hospitality, Sklar and his business partners have acquired franchising rights to seven of territories throughout the United States, including in Michigan. An outlet under Schmaltz already opened in October in Chicago's West Loop, and according to Crain's Detroit, did $70,000 in business in its first week alone.

That should say something about the cult following behind the 60-year-old eatery, which regularly tops food lists for its addicting spicy, crispy chicken served on Styrofoam plates that goes for about $9 a ticket. Sklar tells us another location recently opened in St. Louis, with enthusiastic customers lined up out the door.

"This is a game-changer," Sklar says. "No one else plays in this league."

Sklar - whose Peas & Carrots restaurants include French brasserie Au Cochon, Italian spot Arthur Avenue, Social Kitchen & Bar, all in Birmingham, Mex in Bloomfield, and Bernie's Lunch and Supper in Chicago River North area - tells us he never meant to get in the franchise game, and instead had been focused on more high-end, yet approachable concepts. That changed with longtime friend and current Schmaltz business partner Zach Goodman traveled to Memphis and tried the chicken. Goodman called up Sklar and convinced him to go try it for himself, insisting the two do something with the chain.

Schmaltz plans to build a 3,000-sqare-foot space on the corner of 3rd and Alexandrine, with a planned opening early this summer (unless they encounter any drama from the city).

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