AUSTIN (KXAN) – Shaquille O’Neal is deep in business ventures after his Hall of Fame career in the NBA, and one of them is coming to Austin.
Better known as Shaq, his fast-casual chicken restaurant — appropriately named “Big Chicken” — will reportedly have a spot at the new Moody Center when it opens later in April. The location was first reported by Nation’s Restaurant News.
According to the Austin Business Journal, a Texas franchise agreement was awarded to three people who plan to develop 50 Big Chicken restaurants across Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
Big Chicken opened its first store in Las Vegas in 2018 and later a location in Glendale, California. O’Neal is no stranger to sports arenas, which is maybe why he chose to open shop inside two of them. Last year, he opened a store inside Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, home of the Seattle Kraken, a 2021-22 NHL expansion team. Then another inside UBS Arena, home of NHL’s New York Islanders.
Besides sports arenas, O’Neal found a way to personalize his business. According to CNBC, one of the sandwiches on the Big Chicken menu is called Uncle Jerome, named after O’Neal’s uncle. Another is called Charles Barkley, a nod to the former NBA star and O’Neal’s broadcasting partner on “Inside the NBA.” Barkley’s namesake sandwich comes with mac and cheese on top of the chicken, along with crispy onions and “Shaq sauce.”
Big Chicken also features the MDE, which stands for most dominant ever, and is meant to describe O’Neal’s career at center, primarily for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was first-team All-NBA eight times and the NBA Finals MVP three times.