Thursday, August 4 2022

Dave’s Hot Chicken opened in Toronto this weekend with massive queues that took up an entire corner of Parkdale from Friday to Sunday.

The spicy LA chicken chain opened its first Canadian location on Friday at the former home of Pete’s Corner Grill at 1582 Queen St. W.

The opening of Dave’s Hot Chicken in Toronto drew massive crowds over the weekend. Photo by Brendan Yeats.

The store opening drew crowds over the weekend despite efforts by the province to keep people at home as COVID-19 numbers rise, with queues around the avenue Sorauren.

Photos taken by passers-by showed huge lines of people outside and customers packing the store inside, in some cases with more than 10 people at a time.

When it comes to social distancing, the purple Xs on the sidewalk represented the extent of crowd management outside of Dave’s.

Asked about the social distancing measures that were in place this weekend, Blair Bitove, director of business development for Obelysk, the Canadian company that operates Dave’s in Toronto, said:

“We are delighted with the support and enthusiasm we have received throughout the opening weekend, and we have implemented a number of sanitary measures to ensure the safety of our customers and staff. “

Bitove says the store had a number of floor markers outside and inside the store. The company also says staff were in a rush to manage doors and all employees wore PPE and sanitized between orders.

Balloons at the store entrance marked Dave’s grand opening, which coincided with the first weekend of Doug Ford’s stay-at-home order.

Going out to eat is considered an essential trip, according to the order’s fuzzy guidelines, but queuing for a new joint of fried chicken probably doesn’t follow suit.

In fact, a number of the folks in Parkdale deliberately decided not to order from Dave’s and instead got their fix of fried chicken from other local businesses.

daves hot chicken toronto

The lines extended outside Dave’s Hot Chicken to Sorauren Avenue this weekend. Photo by Brendan Yeats.

Jordan Harasinski Gillis, owner of Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken and longtime Parkdale resident, announced that he sold sold out this weekend thanks to community support.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have a SELL OUT weekend when Dave opened in town,” Harasinski Gillis said in a Facebook post.

“It was such a pleasant surprise to see so many of my orders this weekend going to the Parkdale area and many of you taking the time to come see us.”

Ding-a-Wing, Dirty Bird, The Heartbreak Chef, Legal Tenders, PG Cluck’s, and Chica’s are just a few other Toronto restaurants that have been hailed as local alternatives for fried birds.


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