Our founders, Joshua Simons and Steve Crawford, grew up between London and Bournemouth. Our story begins when they became friends, and realised their mutual love of southern-style BBQ, and in particular, the wonderful world of grilled chicken.
In their view, the high street offering was somewhat lacklustre, and so they began quietly planning the development of the original Chicken & Blues (then Chicken Shack), introducing the locals to the wonders of mama’s cookin’! Sensing the time was right, the Boscombe shop was secured, and after multiple road-tests to friends and family, Chicken Shack (C&B) opened its doors, and was an instant hit with the locals!
Multiple store openings ensued, as well as the C&B festival truck, which travelled far and wide. The good energy was infectious, resulting in national awards and positive press. Customers returned to the restaurants not only for the food, but for the warm southern-inspired hospitality.
Chicken & Blues continues to grow, keeping the same mission it has had from the start – to revolutionise the quick-serve high street chicken scene with a high quality BBQ offering, using only the best ingredients, sold at an affordable price, and with a smile!
Over a few drinks on a rainy night in a far flung bar, a bunch of us realised our mutual love of BBQ chicken. We decided to embark on an emotional and exciting journey, researching southern American cooking styles, coming up with our own unique and secret recipe and style.
First shop opens…
We took the plunge and opened our first shop on Boscombe high street in Bournemouth, then known as Chicken Shack. We made some noise. Lines formed at the door – mama’s cookin’ had arrived! We ran out of chicken multiple times in first week. How embarrassing, and encouraging at the same time!
Top 5 in the UK!
After just 6 months, we were featured in The Metro Newspaper London as one of the top 5 chicken shops in the UK. Everyone blushed, and then got back to work on the grill – the shop got busier and busier.
Welcome Chicken & Blues
We decide, after many licensing enquiries, to trademark our brand. We visit a lawyer in the city of London, and he informs us that we’ll need to change our name. We rack our brains. ‘We serve chicken, we play blues music. We serve chicken, we play blues music…..’ mnnnnn. How about Chicken & Blues? Yes! Our new name and brand is born!
Enter the Dragon!
Another award! This time, Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis presents us with his business certification in a ceremony in Birmingham. Theo remarked that he was impressed by our journey so far, and offered us some awesome advice for the future
No.2 arrives in Ashley Cross, Poole!
Shop no.2 opens its doors! This time, we head to the trendy neighbourhood of Ashley Cross in Poole, with a 50 cover restaurant and takeaway. The locals are very kind, and we manage to build a fabulous community of fans!
C&B wins national award!
Chicken & Blues was crowned ‘Best Takeaway in the South East of England’, with a notable ‘highly commended’ mention in the overall ‘Best Takeaway in Britain’ at The British Takeaway Awards 2017! The ceremony was held at London’s beautiful Savoy Hotel on Monday.
C&B no.3 opens in Winton!
C&B no.3 opens in Winton, Bournemouth, situated directly between Conto Lounge and Subway. This store is home to a 30-seater C&B, designed by KTM Design, which is backed by England International Tyrone Mings.
C&B scoops ‘Best Family Restaurant UK’!
In what was a triumphant night at Shoreditch Town Hall, London, Chicken & Blues picked up the ‘Best Family Restaurant UK’ gong, up against esteemed national competition. Jasmine Hemsley, of Hemsely + Hemsley fame (Selfridges), presented the trophy on stage to C&B founders Joshua Simons and Steve Crawford. The category was strongly contested, with C&B pipping Frankie & Benny’s, Giraffe, Miller & Carter, Turtle Bay and London’s popular Bodeans, to the honours.
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