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A California Hot Chicken Sensation Is Opening a Storefront in Tualatin

Dave’s Hot Chicken, the Nashville hot chicken brand that started in an East Hollywood parking lot, will open its first Oregon location this spring

A container of hot chicken with kale slaw, curly fries, and pickles from Dave’s Hot Chicken
Hot chicken from Dave’s
Farley Elliot / Eater LA

In the spring of 2017, a group of childhood friends decided to start serving hot chicken in a parking lot. On a night in May, Arman Oganesyan, David Kopushyan, Tommy Rubenyan, and Gary Rubenyan pitched a tent in East Hollywood and started packing boxes of curly fries, kale slaw, and brick-red tenders for customers drawn in by the scent of hot oil and spice.

Since then, Dave’s has become a phenomenon. Since opening the first brick-and-mortar shop in 2018, the team has opened nine locations across California, as well as one in Canada. At their various counter service shops, devotees order piles of tenders and sets of sliders, nestled next to mounds of mac and cheese or colorful slaw. Soon, Oregonians will be able to try Dave’s for themselves: In early May, Dave’s Hot Chicken will open a spot in Tualatin.

Unlike virtual concepts like Charlie’s Hot Chicken, Dave’s sticks to tenders as opposed to offering bone-in options like wings. Those tenders come in seven spice levels, starting with absolutely no spice and peaking at “reaper.” Customers can have those tenders straight or in a slider with pickles and slaw, dripping in “Dave’s sauce.” Those tenders and sliders land in combo meals, with sides like mac and cheese, slaw, and fries, with or without a dousing of cheese sauce. When the restaurant opens, it’ll be only offering takeout, but may expand into delivery and onsite dining in the future.

Oganesyan, a fried chicken aficionado who developed a soft spot for hot chicken destination Howlin’ Ray’s, had no idea that Dave’s was going to grow with the speed it did. However, now that it has, he says the team is focusing on specifically choosing expansion opportunities where people are requesting them. “Portland is one of the highest requested cities,” Oganesyan says. “I think when a restaurant comes in from out of state, there’s this image of corporate guys in suits. But this is really just three guys coming in, the same guys who started it... who want people to try our food.”

Dave’s Hot Chicken will open at 7715 SW Nyberg Street in Tualatin.

Dave’s Hot Chicken [Official]
Dave’s Hot Chicken [Instagram]
East Hollywood’s New Late-Night Hot Chicken Stand Might Blow Your Mind [ELA]

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