Most Dominant Chicken

Shaq's Big Chicken Arrives at Climate Pledge Arena

Fried chicken, an NBA legend, and hockey. What could be better?

By Lucas Kaplan October 11, 2021

Height differences aside, Climate Pledge Arena executive chef Molly De Mers and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal are teaming up to bring Big Chicken to Seattle.

On October 23, the Seattle Kraken play the first home game ever at Climate Pledge Arena. The team will be bringing joy to a hockey-starved city that's eagerly awaited its arrival for years. It'll also be bringing fried chicken.

Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal is opening his fifth Big Chicken outpost at Climate Pledge Arena, partnering with the arena's executive chef, Molly De Mers, to bring his brand of crispy chicken sandwiches, tenders, and fries to Seattle.

To O'Neal, our new hockey franchise and pristine arena represent a more-than-adequate opportunity for expansion. "I've just seen the best arena built, ever—in the country, in the world," he said following a tour of his restaurant's new digs. And for a chain that counts Glendale, California, and Las Vegas among its smattering of locations, Climate Pledge offers more innovative options for food service than most.

Big Chicken is making use of Amazon's "Just Walk Out" technology, allowing Kraken and Storm fans to forgo the classically long concession lines. Think Amazon Go, but instead of walking out with a bag of chips and sad desk salad, you can stroll back to your seat with a piping-hot crispy chicken sandwich.

So what's on offer? Of course, there are the Shaq-fused classics: the M.D.E., a crispy chicken sandwich with Shaq Sauce (his take on barbecue sauce) and pickles; the Uncle Jerome, an ode to a Nashville hot chicken sandwich; and the Kraken, a Climate Pledge Arena exclusive of buffalo chicken, cream cheese, and blue cheese. Also, tenders, fries, and the requisite assortment of drinks.

A sampling of Big Chicken's offerings, from chicken sandwiches to tenders to something called Shaq Sauce.

De Mers, who previously headed Seattle Aquarium's kitchen, has emphasized Climate Pledge Arena's dedication to "sustainability at a large scale" with more plant-based options than any other arena in the country—fitting for a venue that holds the title as the world's first zero-carbon arena. But, still, there's no replacing fried chicken. And thanks to Shaq and Big Chicken, Kraken fans won't have to.

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