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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Gladstone Park’s North Branch Fried Chicken Celebrates 2 Years With Free Pork Sliders, Chicken Sandwiches

North Branch Fried Chicken will give free grub to attendees at its Thursday Father's Day market pop-up to thank the community for its support.

North Branch Fried Chicken opened in 2020 during the pandemic at 5481 N Northwest Highway and offers local rus, saues and fried chicken.
Provided/John Badal
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GLADSTONE PARK — A popular fried chicken and barbecue sauce business is giving away sliders to celebrate its second anniversary.

North Branch Fried Chicken, which opened its Gladstone Park restaurant in June 2020 at 5481 N. Northwest Highway, specializes in Chicago-style barbecue sauces, rubs, savory jams, compotes and casual chicken meals.

The casual eatery will host a pop-up Father’s Day market with other local vendors in partnership with the Jefferson Park Farmers Market 4-8 p.m. Thursday.

The market event will serve as an anniversary party with free pulled pork sliders with the restaurant’s signature North Branch Windy City BBQ Sauce, as well as fried chicken sandwiches. The aim is to “get people together from our community,” said owner and chef John Badal, of Edison Park.

Since its opening, North Branch Fried Chicken has hosted micro-markets to support other entrepreneurs, donated meals to local police and hosted events that have raised more than $6,000 for local schools and parishes, Badal said.

“We have great food at a great value for the community — it’s the community that has helped us and rooted for us the entire time,” Badal said.

The restaurant is set to head up the kitchen of Lake Effect Brewing Company’s anticipated firehouse brewery in Jefferson Park. Brewery owners hoped it would open this summer, but project plans have been delayed.

Badal, who runs the business with his wife, said it’s been tough to operate during the pandemic, but he’s grateful to loyal customers and hopes to partner with more business owners.

North Branch Fried Chicken does not serve alcohol because applying for a liquor license costs money the business doesn’t have, though Badal is hopeful that one day it will happen. For now, he’s not letting that slow down his sales, he said.

“Every day that I walk into that store, it’s like day one. … You learn on your feet, you keep running with it — you remember what good food is,” he said.

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