“We moved to Streator about five years ago from Chicago, we were pleasantly surprised with the area. Our daughter is thriving in school with the FFA and sports, and we wanted to figure out how to give back in a way that helps the community.”— Scott White, owner of Harold's Chicken in Streator
Every order at Harold’s Chicken takes 15 minutes and owner Scott White said there’s no getting around it.
There’s a good reason for it, though: Every order is cooked homestyle and fresh.
“What makes us different is the quality of the product,” White said. “People should know it’s always fresh, never frozen, and that’s big.”
White said the seasoning and the sauce set Harold’s apart from other chicken restaurants.
“One bite, we got you,” White said. “People go crazy for the sauce but I prefer mine without the sauce. You get to taste the chicken.”
The restaurant at 1403 N. Bloomington St. is set to open Thursday.
White grew up in Chicago and he ate Harold’s Chicken: When the opportunity came to bring a franchise he grew up with to Streator, he jumped at the chance.
Harold’s Chicken was founded by Harold Pierce in 1950 with locations on the south side of Chicago before expanding to include locations across the city and other parts of Illinois. Harold’s now has locations in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and other major cities.
White discovered Harold’s was restructuring its brand to go national, which motivated him to bring the restaurant further south.
“We moved to Streator about five years ago from Chicago, we were pleasantly surprised with the area,” White said. “Our daughter is thriving in school with the FFA and sports, and we wanted to figure out how to give back in a way that helps the community.”
White and his wife, Raniece, have worked in the construction industry along with flipping houses, which is what landed them in Streator in the first place.
They moved to Streator after purchasing a house to flip before falling in love with the area. Instead of moving back to Chicago as planned, they kept the home.
“Streator is a place that’s in a good position for development and it has a lot of room to grow,” White said. “We like to think of ourselves as blue-collar, grassroots kind of workers and that’s why we chose Streator. It’s a blue-collar town that’s growing. We’ve seen the rapid development with the new strip malls by Walmart and all the new homes going up, the fancy restaurant going downtown, and the golf course getting a facelift.”
White said he’s looking just as forward to getting people jobs in town that’s on the rise, helping it bring in revenue and people from all over while also giving it some diversity.
“It’s exciting and a little bit scary because you have so many people relying on you,” White said. “We’ve worked in smaller mom-and-pops kind of restaurants. We had a restaurant in St. Louis but we’ve primarily been in the construction industry so coming to the restaurant industry with more employees, that’s a leap of faith.”
Harold’s will have online ordering, curbside pickup and eventually delivery.
It will also have a loyalty program that will be rolled out soon with a QR code sign-in that will allow repeat customers to get free chicken or merchandise.
Regular business hours will be Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.