Baskets, Beats and Beets

Recognizing Black excellence in Arizona's celebrity-owned culinary scene

In Arizona, Black excellence is served fresh, flavorful and with style. Check out three unique Arizona dining experiences, each with a distinct flavor and personality, united by a common thread – they are all owned by Black celebrities who have left their mark on society, and now, on the culinary scene with their unique blends of soulful dishes.

Big Chicken – Gilbert, AZ

Shaquille O'Neal is a former NBA player turned entrepreneur. Shaq's restaurant – Big Chicken, located in Gilbert, serves a variety of chicken dishes including Southern-style fried chicken, chicken sandwiches and chicken tenders.

With Big Chicken, Shaq's goal is to fuse his childhood favorites with trending flavors to create a one-of-a-kind menu. While you're there, try the big waffle sandwich, a tasty blend of crispy chicken breast between a golden waffle bun and topped with chipotle maple candied bacon and honey sriracha mayo.

The ambiance at Big Chicken is as electrifying and welcoming as Shaq himself. The restaurant offers patrons an inside look into his life, taste and personality.

Baskets, Beats and Beets
Sandwich dinner combo. Shaq’s Big Chicken Restaurant.

Johnny's Chicken & Waffles - Glendale, AZ

The Grammy-winning R&B singer Ne-Yo has a passion for cooking, and Johnny's Chicken & Waffles in Glendale, Arizona showcases an array of soulful culinary creations. The menu features plenty of Southern-style favorites, including chicken and waffles, mac and cheese and red beans and rice. At Johnny's, you can create your perfect plate, customizing your meal with various proteins, sauces and sides. It's the perfect spot for a cozy brunch with family and friends.

Baskets, Beats and Beets
Fried Chicken and Red Velvet Waffles. Johnny’s Chicken & Waffles Restaurant.

Chic Chef 77 – Tempe, AZ

Owned by celebrity Chef Nik Fields, Chic Chef 77 is a haven for wine lovers and food connoisseurs, boasting a rotating list of 200 wines and a delicious array of craft cocktails, appetizers and charcuterie boards.

With over 25 years of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Nik has crafted the Chic Chef 77 menu with Mediterranean and Caribbean influences. From her succulent shrimp and grits to her savory jerk chicken, every dish bursts with flavor and is made with the freshest ingredients. The restaurant's hip decor and laid-back atmosphere make it the perfect spot to unwind after a long day.

Baskets, Beats and Beets
Mussels in white wine lemon garlic butter sauce. Chic Chef 77 Restaurant.

These restaurants not only offer delicious food but also serve as a source of inspiration for those who visit. Whether you're a local or a tourist, you won't want to miss these Black-owned restaurants!

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About the Author

Al & Tona Haywood

Meet Al and Tona Haywood, a dynamic husband and wife duo who are the brains behind HAYWOOD Digital Marketing. With over 27 years of combined experience in marketing, Instructional technology, and web design, they are dedicated to helping startups and multi-million dollar businesses drive customer retention and increase ROI through their expertise in content writing, web design, and digital marketing coaching.



Cities & Regions

From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.