Shaq is bringing his ‘Big Chicken’ to Florida. What to know about that M.D.E. sandwich

·2 min read

NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is bringing his Big Chicken restaurant chain to Florida. When it opens in late 2023, it will be the first one in the Sunshine State.

Here’s what to know about the business and the menu:

Where is Big Chicken?

Locations: Big Chicken will make its Florida debut in Orlando, O’Neal’s first NBA home with the Magic in the early 1990s. The chain has a presence in nine states and Carnival cruise lines. The chain’s latest expansion is planned for 250 E. Michigan St., just south of Orlando’s downtown center.

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What to know about the company

Founders: O’Neal, who won NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, founded Big Chicken with Las Vegas-based JRS Hospitality and Authentic Brands Group in 2018, according to the restaurant’s website.

What’s on the menu?

Familiar favorites: The menu features a fusion of O’Neal’s childhood favorites with modern flavors. A couple of the menu items share nicknames O’Neal picked up in his career. Specifically, the Big Aristotle and M.D.E — most dominant ever.

Sandwiches:

The Big Aristotle chicken sandwich comes with muenster cheese, crispy fried onions and sweet and smokey Memphis barbecue sauce. You can ask for bacon to be added to it.

The M.D.E. chicken sandwich comes with Shaq sauce and pickles.

The Uncle Jerome, which is named after O’Neal’s uncle, features Nashville hot chicken with lettuce, mayo and pickles.

Other items: The savory selections also include other sandwiches plus salads, tenders, popcorn chicken and sliders.

Sides: Cheez-It-crusted macaroni and cheese to fries and jalapeno slaw.

Dessert: Milkshakes, ice cream cookie or big cookie.

What Shaq says about the food

Making the pitch: O’Neal explains in a video on the restaurant’s website why it was given the name for their most basic sandwich. “It’s simple. It’s all about our chicken,” O’Neal said. “Hormone free, antibiotic free. Always cooked fresh for you, no heat lamps. Five ounces versus the other guy, who gives you half that. Coated with a breading that took us nine months to get right. That’s right. It’s our baby. The finished chicken breast is 100 percent is M.D.E. — the most delicious ever.”

Former Miami Heat player Shaquille O’Neal visits the Heat during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at FTX Arena in Miami on Saturday, January 15, 2022.
Former Miami Heat player Shaquille O’Neal visits the Heat during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at FTX Arena in Miami on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

To know more

Contact: For more information, visit https://www.bigchicken.com.