WEST CHATHAM — Harold’s Chicken #55, one of the chain’s most popular locations, is gone.
A favorite of Chance The Rapper and made famous by numerous Chicago notables, Harold’s moved out of the storefront at 100 W. 87th St. on Aug. 3, said owner Percy Billings.
Fans can still get an order of three-piece wings fried hard (with mild sauce, of course) at Billing’s Harold’s Chicken Express location on the other side of the Dan Ryan, 8653 S. State St, near the Shell gas station.
Billings moved into the storefront inside Chatham Ridge Shopping Center in 1992, one of the first businesses to move into the outdoor mall, which opened three years prior.
Billing said he wanted to stay there, but he was forced to shut down because of a dispute with the shopping center’s management company.
“The pandemic is still affecting my business,” Billings said. “I didn’t want to go, but with everything going on right now it made sense to close.”
Almost as iconic as the chicken itself is the perennial debate of which Harold’s Chicken is the best Harold’s Chicken. Everyone has their favorite and you can’t tell them theirs isn’t the best.
Chicago Magazine food critic Jeff Ruby ranked the 20 authorized locations, declaring the spot on 87th just west of Dan Ryan as the third-best.
But some readers pushed back, saying no list is complete without the input of YouTube personality and South Sider Larry Legend. Legend made his own top 10 with 87th/Dan Ryan at No. 6, saying in his youth he “would get a ride to this Haroldʼs after a fun night of counting my jukes at the Rink.”
Whatever the “official” rankings, the closure has devastated locals.