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A new fried chicken chain known for its hot yeast rolls is entering the Wichita market

A fried chicken chain based in Texas whose closest competitors are Popeyes and KFC is headed to Wichita.

So what sets Golden Chick — which will open its first Wichita restaurant later this year at Harry and Webb — apart from those other national chains?

For one, it’s the chicken, said Monty Whitehurst, the senior vice president of development for the chain, which has 228 restaurants across Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Its bone-in chicken and chicken tenders are all marinated for 24 hours, hand battered, hand breaded and fried fresh multiple times a day.

Golden Chick is known for its hot yeast rolls.
Golden Chick is known for its hot yeast rolls.

But the restaurant is really known for a decision it made in 2006 to add fresh-baked yeast rolls to its menu. While the other guys serve biscuits — or “little frozen hockey pucks,” as Whitehurst called them — Golden Chick is proofing and baking hot, fresh yeast rolls all day. It sells them with meals. It sells them by the dozen. It uses them as buns for its chicken sandwiches.

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“There’s a little sweetness to that roll,” Whitehurst said, adding that lots of customers buy them to serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

Whitehurst said he became familiar with the Wichita market in his previous job as vice president of franchising for Village Inn. Golden Chick was interested in expanding north, he said, and Whitehurst identified an Oklahoma franchisee who had family in Wichita and was interested in opening restaurants here.

Golden Chick will open its first Wichita restaurant at 1705 S. Webb Road.
Golden Chick will open its first Wichita restaurant at 1705 S. Webb Road.

That franchisee hopes to open several Golden Chick restaurants in the Wichita area and is particularly interested in Derby, Whitehurst said. Golden Chick is also talking to a franchise group in Kansas City and has already signed a development agreement in St. Louis.

The Wichita restaurant will be free standing with dine-in and drive through service. It’s in the architectural planning phase now, and Whitehurst estimated that construction could start within 30 days. The restaurant should be open by the end of the year.

The piece of land the restaurant will occupy is just south of the Taco Bell near Harry and Webb. The address is 1705 S. Webb Road.