My memories of eating at Chicken Unlimited in Chicago.

chicken me
Here are my brothers and me at the end in front of Chicken Unlimited once located at the corner of East 111th St and South Michigan Ave in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago. My mother took this photo in the early 70s, around Christmas time.

Hello everyone. Today I will be talking about Chicken Unlimited restaurants that were very prominent in the 60s and 70s in the Chicagoland area. The chicken was so tasty, and it was very competitive to Kentucky Fried Chicken. The logo featured a chicken with a chef’s hat carrying pieces of chicken in a box. It may sound and looked morbid now, but I thought it was kind of cute when I was younger.

When I lived in the Roseland neighborhood in the early 70s, it was located on the corner of East 111th St and South Michigan Ave. My mother took me and my two brothers on special occasions to eat there. The chicken wasn’t spicy or very seasoned like KFC. I also remembered it wasn’t dry or overcooked. Always juicy. Two side orders were featured on the menu, which was french fries and coleslaw. I never had the coleslaw, but the fries were very hot and crispy. The one that stood out in my memories was my mother giving each of us moist towelettes after our meal was done. We were little then and eating chicken is always very messy.

According to one menu, here are most of the items on the menu that Chicken Unlimited had:

  • Chicken Plenty-3 pieces of chicken, french fries, coleslaw, and hot roll.
  • Chicken Enuf-2 pieces of chicken, french fries, coleslaw, and hot roll.
  • Chicken Ample-8 pieces of chicken.
  • Chicken Feast-12 pieces of chicken.
  • Chicken Treat-18 pieces of chicken only.
  • Chicken Special-24 pieces of chicken only.
  • Chicken Unlimited-30 pieces of chicken only.
  • Chicken Party-100 pieces of chicken.
  • Shrimp Dinner, with the same side orders of the chicken menu.
  • Lake Perch Dinner, with the same side orders of the chicken menu.
  • Lake Perch Fillets.
  • Lake Perch Sandwich
  • Whamburger
  • Junior Hamburger
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Jumbo Hot Dog
  • Dinner Rolls, Dozen
  • Hot Apple Puff for dessert.

Whenever I post something about Chicken Unlimited on my social accounts, everyone remembers the Whamburger. I never had it, although I wished I did because hamburgers are my favorite food of all time. That consisted of two burger patties, lettuce onions, and special sauce. I don’t know if the special sauce was the same as McDonald’s has presently.

My family moved to the Ashburn neighborhood in September 1974. The closest Chicken Unlimited near my house was at West 79th St, east of Cicero Ave in the Scottsdale neighborhood of Chicago. The building at South Michigan Ave in Roseland is still there and is presently a currency exchange.

I reasonably believe that most of the familiar buildings that Chicken Unlimited were conveniently located are still standing. You can undoubtedly tell by the visible rooves of the buildings. Some were converted into currency exchanges, local video stores, private offices, and other specific types of local restaurants.

I don’t know exactly when the restaurants closed or the reason why they did. It could have been fierce competition from KFC, Brown’s Chicken, and Popeyes. They are all still in business. Maybe the owners retired, or the businesses grew extremely fast. If anyone knows, please comment here on my blog or my other social accounts.

One Chicken Unlimited that was opened for a long time and that was located in Eau Claire, WI. I don’t know how long it was there and it was closed around 2012, according to the internet. They were also located in California and other states. But it seems like that it had numerous locations in the Midwest.

It’s a darn shame that Chicken Unlimited is no longer around. It was a special place for me and my family to enjoy a meal that was very good in its day. Even in social media like Facebook, it is still discussed and people are commenting about their memories. Thank you. Pete Kastanes-Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

15 thoughts on “My memories of eating at Chicken Unlimited in Chicago.

  1. Greatest Chicken of all time. The Chicken Unlimited the family used to go was on Kedzie and 31st Street

    1. We grew up eating at the one in Eau Claire Wisconsin. It was on Highway 53. My Grandmother worked there shortly before they closed there doors because of the road construction to repair and reconfigure 53. That took almost a year. Chicken Unlimited and many others , closed the doors. So sad. Best Chicken and coleslaw ever! Wish I had some of the recipes!

  2. I was born and raised in Roseland, and lived there until 1970. Moved from there to South Holland, as did a lot of the residences. I remember very well when the Chicken Unlimited building on 111th and <Michigan was being built, mid-60s. Before that was built, there was a night club on that corner called Club Mombo. It was mob-affiliated, and was bombed on a few occasions. Chicken Unlimited was very good, in my opinion better than KFC will ever be, and the fries were fantastic. Great memories

    1. The other chicken unlimited was on 103rd and cottage grove east of the gas station

  3. Thanks for the great story. I started working at the Chicken Unlimited in Elmhurst in April 1976 and I worked there until they closed their doors in June 1976. I was 15 years old. It was my first job. I did kitchen prep work mostly. But I also did cooking.The chicken came in frozen. My job was to thaw it out, trim the excess fat off of it, crack the thighbones(this was to make sure the thighs cooked through). and then marinade it. We cooked the chicken in a large fat fryer that was a pressure cooker. We had to cook three or 5 pounds at a time otherwise it would burn. At the end of the evening it meant there was chicken left over for the staff to take home. I grilled burgers and made fries. We drained the fryers and filtered the oil. Once a week we drained the fryers, cleaned them and filled them with fresh oil. At the end of the night, I cleaned the griddle and mopped the floors. I learned a lot there. It was a great place to work. Thanks for the menu. I never ordered from it, so I do not remember it at all.

  4. My dad owned 2: 1 in Midlothian and 1 in Hazelcrest. We all worked there, as well as a lot of high schoolers. That was the best times.

  5. My father was an assistant manager at the one on Elston and Lawrence in Chicago in the early 70’s. On Friday nights he would take one of us older kids to work basically to give my mother a break (there were 5 kids with the youngest being a newborn and a 1 year old). What I remember most was the pressure cooker the size of a washing machine and being “paid” in cheesecake. The cheesecake came in a plastic cup with a paper pull tab lid. Today I probably wouldn’t touch it, but as a 5 year old it was a treat.

  6. We used to have one in Jacksonville Florida. My two son and i would go maybe once a week for the chicken dipped in BBQ Sauce. Does anyone have the recipe for that sauce?

  7. Chicken Unlimited it was also in Miami in the 70s I absolutely loved it I have not found any chicken to compare to it today. Memories like that bring a smile to my face. I was telling my husband about it which made me google “What happened to it?”

  8. I use to work at a store called RB clothing. We had one near us and I would go eat lunch there. Was the best chicken ever. You could also buy it by the piece. I often think of the time I only had $1and was hungry and got a delicious drumsticks 🍗. Great memories. It was by Milwaukee and Ashland if my memory serves me right.

  9. I lived half a block from the Chicken Unlimited on 79th Street in Scottsdale. It was sooooo good! Nothing like it today.🐔🤤👍

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.