Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar, a Chicago-based restaurant chain, is set to open its first Charlotte location on Friday, Feb. 3, starting with a ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m.
Guests will be served until 2 a.m., according to one of the restaurant’s Instagram posts.
Eliot Mosby, owner of the Charlotte location, said the University-area restaurant, on McCullough Drive, will be the chain’s largest. He described Charlotte as an “up-and-coming market.”
Mosby said he had visited Charlotte previously and “fell in love” with the city. Putting the restaurant in the University area was intentional, he said, because of the area’s large Black population.
“Harold’s Chicken, if you look at the history, was created for Black people,” Mosby said.
The chain’s founder, Harold Pierce, opened his first store in 1950 on Chicago’s south side during an era when many white-owned restaurants were off-limits to Black customers. The chain now has dozens of locations, mostly in the Midwest.
Mosby said he wants the Charlotte restaurant to be a place for people to have a “safe and fun” experience.
A cut above the rest
Mosby said what make’s Harold’s stand out is the full-sized wings as opposed to the “winglets” served at many other restaurants. A 24-hour marination process coupled with Harold’s famous mild sauce makes the chicken more flavorful, according to Mosby.
In addition to its chicken recipe, Mosby also said the restaurant’s cocktails are made from freshly squeezed juice on a daily basis.
“Our bartenders come in about an hour to hour and a half early and they’re squeezing all of their lemons and limes. So you’re getting fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice in your drinks,” Mosby said. Mosby added that customers also get fresh strawberries and mint in their drinks, with no syrup used.
“That’s what makes our drinks better.”
As the biggest of the four locations, the Charlotte location is also the only one to have a VIP section. “With us branching to North Carolina, we wanted to kind of set the tone,” said Mosby.
The VIP experience
In addition to being a VIP section, the extra space can be used for events. Both sides of the venue allow customers to order from the Harolds menu, but the VIP area offers more comfortable seating like couches and has a lounge-like design.
Mosby said the space could be used for events like receptions and bachelor parties.
Pricing for the booths in the VIP section will be based on party size, as well as the number of beverages required. It can booked by contacting the restaurant or booking ahead of time on Eventbrite.
Seating at the bar and other areas of the VIP section are first come, first serve.
It’s all in the sauce
Many visitors will be getting the Harold’s Chicken and Ice Bar experience for the first time. Mosby said the sauce is a tried and true option.
For those that aren’t sure where to start, Mosby gave QCity Metro his go-to order:
“Being from Chicago, I would say, do a six-piece. When I say six-piece, [I mean] with salt and pepper, and the signature mild sauce on top of the chicken and fries. As far as a drink, I would start with the strawberry Henny margarita.”