NBA Hall of Famer and sports commentator Shaquille O’Neal expanded his Big Chicken footprint in Las Vegas today with the grand opening of his second restaurant located at 9595 W. Tropicana Ave.

Founded in 2018, O’Neal‘s Big Chicken fast-casual restaurants fuse home-cooked childhood favorites with bold new flavors. Shaq created the menu with chef and partner Matt Silverman offering crispy chicken sandwiches like the “Uncle Jerome,“a Nashville hot chicken version named after his longtime bodyguard, Jerome Crawford.

Even though I arrived minutes ahead of the noon lunch-rush, the inside seating area was already near capacity, but I was lucky enough to grab a table. With this being my first visit and having never experienced the menu, I went basic and ordered the chicken sandwich covered in buffalo sauce and blue cheese named “The Chicago” (see below).

I have to admit, I was very surprised by how tender and juicy the chicken breast was. Most “crispy” chicken sandwiches around town come out super hard and crunchy whereas this sandwich was much more enjoyable. I was a little thrown by the fries as I was expecting a thick “big” fry however, these couldn’t be thinner. The upside is that I was able to help myself to the dipping station of sauces. I think the “Shaq Sauce” might be an acquired taste.

My only real disappointment was that they serve Pepsi rather than Coke but that’s just me. They actually have a decent self-serve drink station with typical soda options as well as an additional station offering Unsweetened Black Tea, Seasonal Sweet Tea, and Strawberry Lemonade.

The vibe inside the restaurant is a bit confusing as they want to appear fun by having quirky signage and a foosball table out in the open for people to play yet we were subjected to listening to DMV music like Billy Joel‘s “Piano Man” over the PA system.

Bottom line, I enjoyed my lunch and my stomach doesn’t feel like I just had fast food. I need to go back for one of those giant chocolate chip cookies!




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