Shaq bringing Big Chicken to Rosemont

Shaquille O'Neal's Big Chicken will join the roster of fast casual restaurants opening on Higgins Road in Rosemont later this year, village officials announced Monday.

It'll be the first Midwest location for the basketball legend's growing chain, which is currently in Las Vegas; Glendale, California; sports arenas in New York and Seattle; and on Carnival cruise lines.

The new 2,610-square-foot Rosemont eatery at 9421 W. Higgins Road will be open for dine-in, patio service and carryout, serving up crispy chicken sandwiches like the "Shaq Attack," topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapeƱo slaw and spicy chipotle barbecue sauce, and the "Chicago," featuring buffalo hot sauce, blue cheese, mayo and slaw.

The restaurant also will offer sliders, tenders, salads and milkshakes, but it's unclear if a bar component serving beer, wine and mixed drinks will be included like the other locations, said Mayor Brad Stephens.

Rosemont's village board Monday approved a 10-year lease with Big Chicken's owners for space within the one-story, 8,000-square-foot building being constructed by the village. Big Chicken will share the building with Stan's Donuts & Coffee, which was announced as the first tenant by officials in August.

Last month, they inked a lease with a restaurant ownership group that plans to bring the popular Chicago burger joint Small Cheval to a neighboring 4,600-square-foot building on Higgins.

Stephens, who visited the Big Chicken location near the University of Nevada at Las Vegas campus, said there's plans for a life-size statue of Shaq outside the restaurant where people will be able to pose for pictures. The mayor hopes the former NBA big man will make an appearance at his new restaurant.

The three new fast casual eateries - part of a growing mini-restaurant row along Higgins Road west of River Road - will be built on a site that's now cleared of a former 18,000-square-foot restaurant/bar, 5,000-square-foot attached banquet hall and adjacent three-story, 200-space parking garage. They will be in-between an existing Giordano's pizzeria and Taco Bell.

Stephens said the three new restaurants are targeted for opening in the late summer/early fall, with Small Cheval likely opening last because of its retractable roof feature.

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Stan's Donuts and Big Chicken will share a one-story, 8,000-square-foot building being constructed on Higgins Road west of River Road in Rosemont. Courtesy of Aria Group Architects
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