We’ll see you in there.
Connect to customize your food & drink discovery.
Los Angeles-based restaurant Dave’s Hot Chicken is officially opening a location in Canada, and is expected to expand quickly.
Overseeing the expansion is Blair Bitove, the director of business development for Dave’s Hot Chicken in Canada. She says that the company has already secured a number of locations throughout the Toronto area that are expected to be opening in 2021.
“We have four locations locked down that will be open before August of ,” said Bitove. “We’re hoping to be in British Columbia by the end of the year.”
Obelysk Inc., a Canadian holding company will be in charge of development, run by Canadian businessman John Bitove––Blair's father. They first announced Dave's Hot Chicken expanding to Canada in May 2020. In the press release, it detailed how the father and daughter visited one of the LA locations and knew they had to bring those flavours back to Canada.
The first location, situated in the Parkdale neighbourhood, is planning to open this month.
“We really wanted to find a location that was similar to their first location,” Bitove said
Dave’s Hot Chicken launched in 2017 as a pop-up concept in an East Hollywood parking lot. After six months of viral success, they opened their first physical store in January of 2018 and have since expanded across Southern California.
The Parkdale location will mark the company’s first Toronto location and the first of its Canadian expansion.
Over the years, Parkdale has grown into a popular spot for food in Toronto, but under much criticism regarding businesses gentrifying the neighbourhood.
In 2018, the idea of Vegandale crept into community forums and made headlines across multiple platforms. The concept refers to the re-branding of Parkdale, a diverse Toronto neighbourhood that has traditionally been home to immigrants and low-income folks. When a group of vegan businesses began to operate in the area, they dubbed the strip ‘Vegandale’, causing local outcry from residents.
Bitove says that the decision to open up in Parkdale was partly an effort to emulate the start-up feel that Dave’s Hot Chicken embodies. Although it is a popular US chain, Bitove isn’t looking to reimagine the Parkdale storefront landscape––she is hoping that the restaurant will harmonize with the Parkdale community.
“We don’t want to be seen as this big American chain coming to Canada or anything like that,” she said. “People who don’t know the brand as being an LA brand can view it as a cool Parkdale brand.”
Bitove also looks forward to setting the Canadian stores apart from its American counterparts by spotlighting Canadian businesses and people. She says that although this is a US brand, they want their customers to know that the company is operating with Canadian values in mind.
The menu will be almost identical to the American’s, but will offer local craft beers as well as a secret Canadian menu in the near future. For her, it’s one of the ways the Canadian stores can establish their own personal footprint.
Each of the locations will also feature custom art and design that represents unique traits of the Canadian neighbourhoods they reside in.
Dave’s Hot Chicken is best known for their distinguished take on Nashville hot chicken, serving up some of the best sliders and tenders in America. Customers can choose one of seven spice levels ranging from no spice to ‘reaper’.
They also offer sides such as fries, mac and cheese, kale slaw and cheese fries.
Toronto residents can expect to see Dave’s Hot Chicken on their to-try list as soon as this month.