John and Iola Sobek founded Chicken Shack in Royal Oak, Mich. in 1956.

John Sobek had tasted broasted chicken and he thought that he would be able to reproduce the flavor.

“My grandpa has a wonderful knack for flavor and he came up with our own marinades, our own secret recipe for flour and barbeque sauce. It took a lot of trial and error said Neil Sobeck, the grandson of John and Iola Sobek.

According to the founder’s grandson, tastes have changed in the last 50 years but his grandparent’s commitment to the best has helped the business survive and grow.

“We filter our shortening three times a day so that way there is no residue and our chicken comes out gold and brown every time. We marinate our chicken where a lot of restaurants don’t do that. We have our own formula for flour which makes it more golden and doesn’t come out dark. There are a lot of little things that add up what we do,” he said.

Chicken Shack also has a history of giving to the community but it become legendary during the blackout of 2003. Some of the restaurants had generators so they feed police and fire fighters during very long shifts free of charge.

For more information on this Michigan company, visit


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