THE SWEETEST THING
John Seymour’s original concept Sweet Chick took New York by storm before gaining investment from rap legend Nas and taking the western seaboard. We met him at its first international pop-up at Sole DXB What’s the inspiration behind Sweet Chick?
The concept for chicken and waffles, which is what we’re known for, started in Harlem in New York. A lot of people think it’s from the west coast or the south, but a jazz musician in 1920s in the old jazz clubs in Harlem went into the kitchen at 4am after a set and said to the cook “I don’t know if I want breakfast or dinner”. The chef said “well, I’ve got fried chicken left over and I can make waffles” so that’s how chicken and waffles was birthed. So music has influenced us so much and we’ve done a ton of live performances at the restaurant. It really authentically flowed into what we did.
What locations do you currently have?
I opened the first restaurant in Williamsburg about five years ago. Quickly after that we had some early success and opened in the lower east side of Manhattan. I’m originally a New York guy so it was very familiar. After that I ended up linking up with Nas who was my all-time favourite rapper and he really connected with the brand. We opened in LA, we opened another one in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and we just opened our fifth location in Queens.
Would you bring Sweet Chick to Dubai permanently?
After coming to Sole DXB, doing this, and seeing what the feedback is already we’re entertaining the idea to open here, so that could be next. I’ve met with a few groups because we want to partner with somebody on the operations side and people can really execute here in Dubai. I’ve seen a lot of people and what they’re operating so it’s all about building trust in a partnership. We want to make sure that the same experience you would have in Williamsburg in Brooklyn at the original spot, you would have in Dubai.
What about Sole DXB helped make you decide to come here?
I came to Sole last year and really our customer base is the same customer base as Sole so to see that those people existed out here in Dubai was super dope. Dubai is so experiential, every time you turn around it’s an Instagram picture, and just seeing specifically the crowd that supports Sole, it’s good for me to come to a singular place and say “Oh wow, our crowd exists out here”, that’s really interesting.
What does the future hold for Sweet Chick?
The future for Sweet Chick is international Sweet Chick. We’re going to grow at home in the States and we’re going to go outside of New York and outside of LA and probably into some new markets in America, but we’re definitely going to expand globally. Look for us in London and Dubai coming soon.