In 2018, Lakers icon and legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal opened Big Chicken in Las Vegas, Nevada. This fast-casual restaurant, located in a strip mall across from the newly built Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, is popular for their chicken-centric menu. Big Chicken is best known for their crispy chicken sandwiches which are served on brioche bun. Many of these sandwiches are named after Shaq including the Shaq Attack and Big Aristotle. Other than sandwiches, you can find sliders, chicken tenders, salads, and sides on the menu.
In 2020, Big Chicken opened a second location in Glendale, CA. In the future, there are plans to open locations on board two Carnival cruise ships.
As a Lakers fan my entire life, and a fan of Shaq and chicken sandwiches, I made it a priority to stop by Big Chicken on my recent road trip to Las Vegas. I had to try it out for myself.
When I walked into the restaurant, I was surprised how spacious and bright the dining room was. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill fast food restaurant you could find on any corner in Las Vegas. The décor was upscale for a fast food restaurant yet casual and inviting. Even though it was late and the restaurant was about to close, the place was busy and energic with customers, employees, and hip-hop music playing in the background.
The décor was what I would describe as industrial modern with concrete floors, exposed air ducts, wooden walls, circular lights, and neon signs. Over the front counter was a large neon sign displaying one of Shaq’s favorite phrases, “Can You Dig It?” This place was made for Las Vegas.
On the right side, just through the door, was an impressive full bar. The bar was something not expected at a fast food restaurant. So, if you are looking for a craft beer or cocktail along with your chicken sandwich, then the bar is your spot.
At Big Chicken, I placed my order with the cashier at the counter near the back of the restaurant. I was surprised how friendly and welcoming the cashier was. She guided me through the menu and gave me her recommendations of what to order, even if it wasn’t the most expensive item on the menu.
After placing my order, I was handed a red plastic tag with a number printed on it. After finding an open table, I hung the red tag on the black metal hook attached to the paper towel holder found on the table. When ready, a server brought my food over to my table and took the red tag.
Big Chicken Menu
The Big Chicken menu offered seven types of crispy chicken sandwiches, all cleverly named after Shaq and basketball. I was told the most popular option was the Shaq Attack. You also had the M.D.E. (Most Dominant Ever), Superman, Uncle Jerome, Chicago, and Big Aristotle. There was also a sandwich named for Charles Barkley which I found amusing.
Other than sandwiches, there was an assortment of sliders, chicken strips, salads, and sidekicks. For kids, there was the slider or two chicken strips.
As for drinks, you had your usual soft drinks, ice tea, and bottled water. You also had locally brewed draft root beer, local craft beers, shakes, wine, and handmade cocktails.
Finally, for dessert, you had ice cream cones, soft serve cones, and ice cream sandwiches. There was something for everyone.
Big Chicken Sauces
One thing I enjoyed about Big Chicken was the assortment of chicken sauces for my dipping pleasure. There was the Shaq, spicy chipotle BBQ, Korean BBQ, BBQ ranch, sweet & smoky Memphis BBQ, Buffalo style hot sauce, and Carolina honey mustard BBQ.
Some of the sauces were available to left of the cashier near the soda machines. Just grab a plastic container and use the dispensers to pump as much sauce as you would like. Unfortunately, not all of the sauces were available and other dispensers were out of order. For the other sauces, just ask a worker for help.
Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
For my sidekick, I ordered the Sweet Potato Waffle Fries ($3.79). If there are sweet potato fries on the the menu, then odds are I will be ordering them. I don’t understand how some people don’t like sweet potato fries. I’m glad I am not one of those people.
I enjoyed how these thin waffle fries were not greasy at all. It almost seemed as if the fries were baked instead of fried. Even so, they weren’t dry. While I would have preferred them to be crunchier, they were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
I found each waffle fry to be sweet, salty, and satisfying. I couldn’t get enough, especially when paired with one of the dipping sauces.
Shaq Attack Chicken Sandwich
With so many great options on the menu, it was hard deciding what to order. After much debate, I settled on the Shaq Attack ($8.39). This crispy chicken sandwich was topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño slaw, avocado, and spicy chipotle BBQ sauce. If you would rather have your chicken grilled, just ask for it.
The breading of the chicken was nothing to write home about. While it was seasoned well, the breading wasn’t as crunchy as I was hoping for. It was just thick enough to add a crispy texture to the sandwich. Hidden under the breading was a thick chicken breast. While not the juiciest chicken I have ever had, being midnight, I was impressed with how well it was cooked.
A chicken sandwich isn’t complete without some sort of crunchy slaw. And, they weren’t messing around with this jalapeño slaw. The thick slices of salty, pickled jalapeños mixed with shredded cabbage added a great crunchy bite. I was expecting the jalapeños to be spicy, but for me, they weren’t.
Finishing off this chicken sandwich was a simple piece of pepper jack cheese and avocado. The avocado, which was smashed, was a cross between guacamole and a creamy sauce. The creamy avocado complemented the smoky, sweet, salty chipotle BBQ sauce drizzled across the chicken.
Finally, you had the soft and sweet brioche bun which was fantastic. Not only did the bun hold up until the last bite but it tasted great. Even better, the bun was grilled in butter until smoky and charred on the inside. Rich, smoky, and sweet with a crispy texture. The bun could not have been better.
As ordering was done at the front, my interaction with the staff was limited. The staff members I did talk with were friendly and hospitable. I appreciated how the cashier gave me her recommendation when I was ordering. Often, workers will just tell you to order the most expensive item on the menu. Not the case here. Also, as it was near midnight and they were about to close, I was surprised how energetic the staff was. Staff was walking around the dining room, checking up on tables, and cleaning. The workers truly looked like they were enjoying their jobs.
Everyone seems to be doing a crispy chicken sandwich these days from Popeyes to KFC to Chick-fil-A. And now, you can add Big Chicken to that list. So what makes Big Chicken stand out from the others? It’s not just their chicken sandwich and dipping sauces but their friendly service, interesting menu, modern interior, and full bar stocked with local craft beers and handmade cocktails. For those reasons alone, I can recommend Big Chicken. And, if you are a fan of Shaq, you have no reason not to visit. I can dig it.
- Interesting menu with many great choices
- Friendly and energetic staff
- Modern and spacious interior
- Full bar with local craft beers
- Some of the sauce dispensers were out of service
4480 Paradise Rd #1200, Las Vegas, NV 89169
GPS Coordinates: 36.10881,-115.15107