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Walnut Creek Magazine

World Famous Hotboys Fried Chicken is Coming to Walnut Creek

Aug 17, 2021 05:15PM ● By Pam Kessler

Juicy, tender, spicy or mild, nothing tastes better than fried chicken. When World Famous Hot Boys lands in Walnut Creek, it’s bringing along America’s favorite comfort food and a deliciously vibrant brand.

It’s a big new reveal for the space that for the past 20 years has housed Mel’s. But for the Ghaben family who operate the Main Street diner, adapting to change is nothing new—they’ve successfully run restaurants in Walnut Creek since the 1970s including Picasso, HofBrau, Hubcaps, and Broderick’s.

“Mel’s has been in the family since 1991,” says Rolla Ghaben. “As a franchisee, we grew from it and learned a lot. We’ve seen the changes happening in Walnut Creek and it’s time for a transformation.” For a new food concept, the restaurateurs didn’t have to look far. Cousin Victor Ghaben, along with his artist buddy Berk, began mastering the art of fried chicken from their Oakland home several years ago. “We travelled to Nashville, Texas, and Tennessee to experience the food. Then we made it religiously every single day for over three years and served it to the public at popup events, parking lots, and backyards,” says Victor.

With the help of his entrepreneurial cousins—Rolla, Mike, and David Ghaben—World Famous Hot Boys was born in 2017 on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland. Almost overnight, the city fell head over heels for the fried chicken sandwiches. It wasn’t long before a second outpost opened in Sacramento where it had the same effect on the local culinary scene. After watching the shifting trends and changing demographics, it was time to bring Hotboys to Walnut Creek.

Fresh Halal chicken filets are marinated for 24 hours and dipped in batter before getting fried, slathered in five levels of heat, and plopped on a bun with pickles and slaw. Chicken tenders and wings are also on the limited menu, along with fries, beans, and mac n’ cheese.

While we’re waiting to devour what Yelp named the number one fried chicken sandwich in the state, work will begin in September on the interior remodel and a graffiti mural by Berk on the blank wall behind the building—a signature of the Hotboys brand.  

“Berk's vibe is throwback graffiti mixed in with cultural icons and cartoons…a mixture of classic graffiti and animation. It's meant to trigger nostalgia,” says Victor. “With the direction of the city focused on art and food, we believe Hotboys will do well here. For us, food is art,” says Rolla.

 Look for World Famous Hotboys at 1394 N. Main Street before the end of the year.


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