On Wednesday, Aug. 30, the vibrant city of Houston welcomed another superstar into its fold – this time, in the form of a massive, charismatic basketball legend and entrepreneur, Shaquille O’Neal. The occasion marked the grand opening of his second “Big Chicken” restaurant in the Houston area, a testament to the city’s flourishing dining scene that’s increasingly being adorned by celebrities.

The unveiling of Shaq’s “Big Chicken” at 34515 FM 762 in Richmond, Texas was nothing short of a spectacle. Crowds of excited diners and devoted fans lined up eagerly outside the restaurant’s doors, all anticipating the chance to catch a glimpse of the towering sports icon and, of course, savor the mouthwatering creations that bear his name.

Shaquille O’Neal and College of Biblical Studies’ Ambassadors Shooting Guard Nathaniel Greene

O’Neal, known for his prowess on the basketball court, his philanthropic efforts, and his ventures in various industries, has ventured into the culinary world with his “Big Chicken” concept. However, this isn’t just a celebrity endorsement as he has been actively involved in crafting and curating the menu items.

“I’m not a chef. Eisenhower says the greatest leaders are the ones smart enough to have people around you that are smarter,” O’Neal said. “I tell them what I am looking for and they make it. I taste it and it doesn’t go behind the bar unless it is right and approved by me.”

Shaquille O’Neal with College of Biblical Studies students (and Bayou Beat News co-owners) Damanion Cooper-Lee and Nathaniel Greene

Amid the excitement and celebration of the restaurant’s opening, O’ Neal took a moment to express his connection to Houston.

“I have been coming here. Houston is one of my favorite cities,” he shared. His love for the city is palpable, as he mentioned that Houston, alongside Dallas and Austin, holds a special place in his heart. “My first love was from Houston, and I have been here ever since.”

Shaquille O’Neal holding Bayou Beat News – Newspaper

Shaq’s “Big Chicken” venture joins the ranks of other celebrity-driven businesses that have found a home in Houston.

From rapper 50 Cent’s collaboration with local venues including NRG Stadium (home of the Houston Texans) and Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros), to rapper Slim Thug’s signature ‘Big Slim’ meal partnership with Checkers, and Bun B’s acclaimed “Trill Burgers,” Houston’s culinary landscape is being enriched by the creativity and influence of these well-known figures.

Shaquille O’Neal and Bayou Beat News Publisher & CEO Nakia Cooper

So what’s up with the celebrity dining takeover in Houston? Bayou Beat News readers, let us know your favorites in the comments section below.