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Baker Street’s ‘Guilt-Free’ Fast Food Restaurant Will Relaunch, Again

Carl Clarke and David Wolanski’s Chik’n says it is “unshackled” following the departure of its CEO

London fried chicken restaurant Chik’n will open in Soho
Chicken burger by Chik’n
CHIK’N [Official Photo]

Chef-restaurateur Carl Clarke and business partner David Wolanski have announced, following the departure of (now ex-) CEO Darren Gardner, that their so-called “guilt-free” fast food chicken brand, Chik’n, (which opened in July last year) will relaunch this Friday. It will be more in-line with the restaurant they always wanted to open, a spokesperson told Eater earlier today.

When the brand launched, Clarke told Eater that he was explicitly aiming to outdo its neighbours, which included KFC, McDonald’s and Itsu, with an independent and healthier approach to fast food. The restaurant had to temporarily close (and relaunch) because of unexpected demand a fortnight after it opened last summer.

The brand announced the first stage of what was believed to be a roll-out for the fast food format in September. It is now unclear whether that restaurant, on Upper Street in Islington, will now open as a Chik’n, as planned, or something else.

A spokesperson admitted that the duo’s “first foray into the world of faster food has been an amazing learning experience for them; they set out to change fried chicken for the good, using the very best ingredients, flavours and people to create chicken that is another level.

“The result was a loud, noisy experiment — much of which has worked (some that didn’t!) They’ve been fortunate enough to build a loyal following of customers who have embraced it but something didn’t feel quite right for the boys in terms of its attitude.

“It all seemed a little too “safe” — it just didn’t feel like them!”

They added: “They have recently had some management changes that have meant their shackles are now off. It is going to be the restaurant they always wanted but weren’t allowed [to make.]”

What it means in practice is that the restaurant will reopen this coming Friday as a more “express” version of Chick ‘n’ Sours, the group’s original brand (which has sites in Dalston and Covent Garden.) In its own words, “bringing in new and different crowds that don’t have the time or the wallet for a Chick ‘n’ Sours experience.”

Correction: an earlier version of this article referred to the departure of investors from Chik’n. This was in error; it was in fact the departure of the former CEO to which the “management changes” refer.


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