A beloved South Side Chicago fried chicken chain has opened its first location in south Lake County.

Harold's Chicken Shack has opened at 101 Joliet St., Ste. 500E by the Franciscan Health Dyer hospital and the popular White Rhino pub. The chain has a cult following and prominent fans who include Chance the Rapper, Kanye West and former president Barack Obama.

Harold's Chicken Shack also has restaurants throughout the Calumet Region in Gary, Merrillville, Hammond, Lansing and South Holland. It's known for wings, catfish, perch, and a half or quarter chicken that's fried in beef tallow and vegetable oil to give it a Southern taste. The chicken is drizzled with hot or mild sauce and only cooked after it's ordered so it stays fresh.

Dinners come with fries, coleslaw and white bread for sopping up the sauce. 

Harold's, which dates back to the 1950s, now has 42 locations, including in Atlanta and Iowa.

"It's an iconic brand in Chicago," owner Kristen Pierce said. "Chicagoans move to different states and request it. We're growing and expanding, adding stores nationally."

Harold's focuses on a carryout business, but has four or five tables for dining in at new locations like Dyer, Pierce said. 

"People like the flavor, the freshness and the seasoning," she said. "They like the mild sauce. It has a sweet and tangy taste."

Harold's Chicken Shack liked the Dyer location because of the traffic, the accessibility, and its closeness to the state line and its longtime customer base in Illinois, she said.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 219-515-6475