Monday, April 22, 2024

OC-based Chicken University opens its first location in Bixby Knolls

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Chicken University—the wildly popular fusion fried chicken joint based out of Fullerton—has decided to jump from behind the Orange Curtain and try its luck with its first Long Beach audience, opening its doors in Bixby Knolls for the first time.

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An array of offerings from Chicken University. Courtesy of business.

While its menu might seem slightly all over the place—bowls of chicken katsu ramen sit next to cheese fondue that are used to wrap onion rings and fries next to gochuchang fried wings next to bowls of creamy Korean tteokbokki—owner Sam Chun plays his guiding entrepreneurial spirit with a very simple approach: If it’s a hit on TikTok or Instagram, it’s something he can play with in Chicken University.

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The exterior of Chicken University’s Long Beach campus. Photo by Myra Pimentel/BKBIA.

In fact, the social media game is key to Chicken University: While the original “Fullerton campus” account has amassed over a 100,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok posts have garnered them hundreds of thousands of views, the Long Beach campus Insta has been up and running since they began hiring, filling their wall with all their decadent fried and cheesy options.

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Chicken Katsu spicy ramen from Chicken University. Photo courtesy of business.

The opening of the space marks the warming return of Korean fried chicken to the city: Mom’s Touch, the short-lived Korean fried chicken at the southwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and Harding Street, closed officially after being open for about a year. The last day of service was April 28—and unfortunate loss as Long Beach started seeing an influx of Korean brands moving in, including the still-in-operations Myungrang over on Carson.

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An array of offerings from Chicken University’s Long Beach campus. Photo by Myra Pimentel/BKBIA.

This makes Chun’s move even smarter: His keen eye for American audiences—something the quick expansion of Mom’s Touch seemed, well, out of touch with—could make expanding his fusion empire much easier. Whether his witty focus on university cities—CSUF and Fullerton College students alike are one of the OC location’s key demographics and will likely be the same in Long Beach when it comes to CSULB and LBCC students—Chicken University’s branding is not only point but appealing to what has become a definitive part of this generation’s food take, whether you like it or not: “But does it look good on TikTok?”

Chicken University is located at 3851 Atlantic Ave.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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