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Flava Flav’s Fried Chicken: The experience

BY EVAN CLARK | FEBRUARY 10, 2011 7:10 AM

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There appears to be more to Flava Flav than meets the eye.

On first impression, one may be put off by the gold-encrusted Viking helmet and oversized clock chain, and even when you get past those, there are the obnoxious, abrupt catch phrases including “Yeah boy” and his own name. (He taught Soulja Boi everything he knows.)

But then, there’s the part of Flav that seems to be overlooked. Somehow, after years of absence from music and numerous run-ins with the law, he managed to reinvent himself and become relevant again to a younger generation through a series of VH1 reality television shows, including “The Surreal Life” and “Flavor of Love.”

He eventually became America’s favorite Viking helmet, clock-clad, possible Tourette’s syndrome survivor, over-the-hill rapper. Which is why his latest ambition would be anyone’s goal: conquer the fast-food chicken industry.

See, at some point along the way, Flav caught on to the fact that he’s more than just an average celebrity. While he may actually find the helmets and clocks fashionably appealing, he understands that he has an image and a marketable one at that. So when we catch wind of a potential chicken-shack opening in Clinton, bearing the Flava Flav name, we immediately think two things: One, I have to go there, and two, why is it in Clinton?

Both questions were implanted in my mind and wouldn’t escape until I saw this fried-chicken oasis myself. So I filled up the tank and headed to Flava’s Fried Chicken, all in the name of professional journalism.

After an hour and a half on the road, the factory-produced pollution stung my nostrils, and I knew I was getting close. And sure enough, right smack dab on Fast Food avenue between a Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell was a grinning Flava Flav holding a chicken leg, and it was sure a sight to behold.

The interior of Flava’s Fried Chicken was a humble one: stenciled spray-paint portraits of Flav in various rapping poses next to bubbles of all the catch phrases decorated walls — giving me something to examine as I waited in a 20-minute line that almost stretched out the door. Booths and tables filled the dimly lit restaurant. The menu was rather simplistic, mainly emphasizing the fried-chicken combo meals, with a wide variety of side dishes ranging from mashed potatoes and gravy to homemade coleslaw.

When I reached the front, I decided on a two-piece combo meal that included cornbread and paid $7.49 in exchange for Flava’s chicken. To my dismay, Flava’s Fried Chicken doesn’t accept debit cards, so I dashed to an ATM a couple blocks away and made it back just as my order was called by the DJ, who was playing requests all night. (I was unimpressed when he told me he didn’t have “Return of the Mack,” by Mark Morrison, but we settled on Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”.)

As I scarfed down my scrumpcious (yet nothing I would recommend driving to Clinton for) fried chicken, I introduced myself to the couple next to me, Rich and Michelle Warren, who shared with me their suspicions about the restaurant’s existence.

“Well, you know, it’s all one big reality-show thing,” Rich said. “MTV or whoever is making some show where celebrities start their own businesses, and they see how they do, like ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

His conspiracy theory intrigued me, but I still couldn’t understand one thing: why Clinton? Michelle Warren informed me that rumor had it that Flav had business connections with a local pizza restaurant owner in the area, who helped lease the Flava’s Fried Chicken building to Flav, which used to be a Long John Silver’s. She also spoke of mysterious men who had been spotted with Flav in Clinton.

“A lot of people said they saw Flav with Snoop Dogg and Lil’ Wayne,” she said. “But it turned out that they were just impersonators, which just adds to all the publicity and mystery with this place.”

After I finished what I confess to be run-of-the-mill fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw, my head was spinning with unanswered questions. The manager declined an interview because of the dinner rush, as 15 employees stood around the kitchen, arms folded, looking exhausted.

My only leads were Rich’s MTV conspiracy and a fake Snoop Dogg. Why Chicken? Why Clinton? Why Flav, why? Only time will tell what Flav has up his sleeve, but in the meantime, I’m still wiping my chin with my sleeve from leftover hot-sauce and gravy stains.


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