As fans of Deep South fried chicken chain Bojangles might say, it’s Bo Time in Texas.
The first Bojangles in Texas opens June 27, 2023 in Euless, near DFW International Airport. Restaurants in Frisco, Lancaster and Little Elm are expected to open by the end of the year, bringing fried chicken and Bo-Berry Biscuit desserts to the Lone Star State.
“Texas is our gateway to the West,” said Mike Caroti, market director for the company and one of several people overseeing Bojangles’ expansion into Texas and other states.
The company is so proud of their buttermilk biscuits that the Euless store has a “biscuit theater” — a glassed-in area where customers can watch Bojangles cooks roll the dough and toss it in the oven. This Bojangles has an “expansion market” menu and restaurant design, which is slightly different than the Deep South restaurants, but still familiar.
The menu has been modernized, said Marshall Scarborough, vice president of menu and culinary innovation. Whereas North Carolinians might order a Cajun Chicken Filet Biscuit Combo (which is a fried chicken breast on a biscuit), that same sandwich in Texas is plumper, with hand-breaded chicken, and called Bo’s Chicken Biscuit Combo. Another example: Chicken tenders are called Supremes in parts of the Deep South, but at the new North Texas stores, they’re simply Bo’s Chicken Tenders. The chicken still has Cajun seasoning on it, like it always has. But there’s no bone-in chicken on the menu here; Scarborough said the demand isn’t there.
North Carolina transplant Ari Sen ate Bojangles’ food in Euless during a media event and said the restaurant brought back memories of being home.
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“Tarheel Texas transplants will be satisfied,” he said. Sen is a Dallas Morning News investigative reporter, but he moonlighted as a Bojangles expert. Bojangles is his first stop every time he flies home.
“This is like the Cajun filet I never knew I needed,” he said about the plumper version of the fast-food combo he used to order at least once a week in high school.
Bojangles opens in Texas on June 27, 2023
All Texas restaurants will have the Bo-Berry Biscuit, the North Carolina restaurant’s most beloved dessert. At the newer restaurants west of the North Carolina headquarters, menus also include a Bo-Berry milkshake, a lavender-colored dessert with a berry essence.
Is this new milkshake a Bo-Berry Biscuit replacement on a hot summer day?
“Oh no,” Sen said. That’s not a knock on the shake. Nothing can replace Bojangles’ famous blueberry-flavored biscuit with ribbons of icing on top, he said. Texas restaurants also sell peach cobbler.
Sen has been waiting months for Bojangles to open. Bojangles is so intertwined with North Carolina culture that basketball fans at UNC chant “we want biscuits” when the team gets close to scoring 100 points. Over the years, Bojangles has sold $1 sausage biscuits after big-scoring games, further incentivizing athletes to play well in a basketball-loving state.
Bojangles’ fry seasoning, which is sold in-store for $2.99 per shaker, is another nostalgic moment for Sen. Bojangles serves thick-cut fries tossed in fry seasoning and served with the choice of six sauces: ranch, jalapeño ranch, peach honey pepper, honey mustard, creamy Buffalo and barbecue. The fries were served piping hot. They’re so good that Sen believes if you’ve got a sore throat, a Bojangles combo meal can help. Eat the fries first, he said; it dries you out. Then the biscuit; it coats your throat. Wash it down with Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored soda from North Carolina.
Does it work?
Better question: Does it matter?
So far, the Texas restaurants will not serve Cheerwine. North Carolinians might miss it, but Scarborough said most Texans may not even know about it.
Chef Scarborough was born and raised in Winston-Salem, N.C., and grew up eating Bojangles long before he got a job streamlining the company’s menu in 2020.
“It’s kind of surreal,” he said. “I went out and traveled and realized some people have no clue [about Bojangles].” The store in Euless marks the 801st Bojangles restaurant in the company’s nearly 46 years in business.
Superfans have been driving by the restaurant for weeks or more, pulling on the door to see if it’s open. It’s almost Bo Time.
“That’s why we have to keep the door locked,” said operating partner Shannon Prim.
Texas’ first Bojangles is at 201 E. Euless Blvd., Euless. It’s expected to open June 27, 2023.
For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.