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Hot Chicken Takeover to take over Clintonville

Hot Chicken Takeover will open a second Columbus location in Clintonville. Credit: Courtesy of Dilara Casey

Hot Chicken Takeover started as just a small pop-up chicken window in the Olde Towne East neighborhood of Columbus two years ago, and grew to a location at North Market in the Short North. Now, the restaurant is expanding to a standalone restaurant.

Manager Joe DeLoss said the Nashville-style fried chicken restaurant, which currently resides on the second floor of the North Market, will open a new location in Clintonville in the late spring.

DeLoss said the company took customer surveys regularly and reviewed census data and comments on social media when choosing a location, and felt Clintonville was the place to start.

“Clintonville was one of the locations on the list, so the second step in the process was real estate,” DeLoss said. “That proved very tricky, so aligning the available real estate with our data was a much larger challenge than imagined — but we’re happy with the way it worked out.”

The company’s success is based on three things: the community, the team and the chicken, which is cayenne pepper-infused, as opposed to covered in sauce, DeLoss said.

“We love the customers that come through our doors every day, and we have a strong team of workers who hustle to get the job done and ensure we’re consistently providing great service and great food to the customers we serve,” DeLoss said.

DeLoss said he was heavily influenced by the way fried chicken is served in Nashville when starting Hot Chicken Takeover. He said he wanted to bring the family-oriented, casual culture to Columbus.  

While most people know the restaurant for the food, it’s not the only thing that makes them notable around the community, he said.

“We have employees who have had what we consider an ‘alternative resume,’” DeLoss said. “They’ve been incarcerated or had life experiences different than what some of us may have had, but they’re eager to work and many of them want to break the cycle they were born into.”

It’s this eagerness from not only the workers, but from the community, that has led to the success of the restaurant, said marketing director Dilara Casey.

Casey said it’s an easy company to love because it has all of the features of success.

“I think the work we do is extremely meaningful,” Casey said. “Whether that means offering somebody a fair chance at employment, providing meals to community shelters, or seeing the smile on a customer’s face, it’s all rewarding.”

The meaningful work the restaurant has done hasn’t gone unnoticed, she added.  Access Ventures, a private-equity firm from Louisville, Kentucky, has provided funding, guidance and support to help with the expansion as a whole. The investment plan is to add three or four stores in central Ohio in the next few years.

This expansion includes another Columbus location that will be announced on Friday, Casey said.

As for the first expansion in Clintonville, the expectations DeLoss said he and others have are high.

“We feel confident that with previous interactions we’ve had in the neighborhood,”DeLoss said. “Clintonville is a good place to start as we expand.”

The new location will open in the late spring at 4203 N. High St.

 

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