For years, it was known as a beloved late-night NYC spot where groups of friends would crowd in after a night at the bars. It’s a favorite—fans of this restaurant know there’s nothing else on the planet quite like the crunch of this hot, tender chicken, or the sweet-and-savory sauce it’s coated in. But all that was just the beginning. With locations currently in over 20 states, this Korean fried chicken chain is now invading a new segment of the country. If you know, you know: If this chain is coming to a state near you, your taste buds may never be quite the same.
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The Bonchon Chicken brand story explains that the restaurant was born in Busan, South Korea, in 2002 and made its way to New York City in 2006. Many diners who sampled it found Bonchon to be an instant obsession of unique flavors and on-point texture, often served inside buckets that made sharing among friends delightful.
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Bonchon Chicken has grown since then, with over 110 U.S. locations in 21 states like Florida, Texas, California, and Colorado, just to name a few. (The brand also says they currently have 370 locations worldwide.)
Now, after growing a reported 18% in the past two years, Bonchon Chicken is expanding aggressively into the Midwest. Bonchon has just announced franchise deals to open its first five locations in Michigan (with two of those in Detroit), as well as three restaurants in the Cincinnati area.
This is in addition to multiple other stores in Fort Worth, TX, Queens, NY, and Wilmington, DE—which, according to a press release, is new territory for the Bonchon brand.
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Fans already familiar with Bonchon Chicken associate the name with big flavor, but, a little trivia: The brand says “Bonchon” actually translates to “my hometown” in Korean.
Today, their menu with distinct down-to-earth origins has grown to international fame. In 2020, Business Insider named Bonchon chicken “the gold standard for fried chicken” compared to wings from Hooters, Wingstop, Buffalo Wild Wings, and TGI Fridays.
Bonchon notes that just this year, they’ve been named among the Nation’s Restaurant News Top 500 Restaurants, as well as Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list and Fast Casual Magazine’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers.
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