Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken is heading to his home state of New Jersey.

As previously reported by AFROTECH™, the former basketball-player-turned-serial-entrepreneur became a co-owner of Big Chicken in 2018 and opened the first location in Las Vegas, NV, alongside his friend Matt Silverman and agent Perry Rogers.

Since, thanks in part due to its popular menu items including chicken tenders, various chicken sandwiches, crinkle-cut French fries, and mac n’ cheese, the business has proven to be a success and has adopted a franchise model.

Big Chicken signed a 20-unit development deal in partnership with H&D Group Investments to expand to Michigan in 2023, Franchise Times reports. Prior, a 50-unit deal had been signed to open storefronts in Texas, with locations already springing up in the city of Houston and nearby Richmond. It can also be found in California and on Carnival Cruise ships.

Now, its next location is set for New Jersey, marking a full circle moment for O’Neal who was born in Newark, NJ, on March 6, 1972. reports customers can visit the state’s first location at The Village at Bridgewater Commons, which will be led by franchisees Chad Patel and Aditya Patel.

“Bridgewater Commons is just a short drive away from my house, which is how I know that Chad and Adi chose the perfect location for their first Big Chicken restaurant in New Jersey,” Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern said in a news release, per “It’s crazy to think that in less than three years of franchising, we’re now developing a location in my own backyard.”

The restaurant is projected to open in mid-June 2024.

“The first 34 people, because 34 is Shaq’s Jersey number, in line during our grand opening day will receive a free Big Chicken sandwich for a year, limited to $10 a week,” Aditya told “When we spoke to Shaq in 2023, he was very excited and looking forward to coming to New Jersey when we opened. It may be the grand opening, or it may be a few weeks after the grand opening, but whenever he comes, we will make that an event.”