World Famous Hotboys Walnut Creek Fried Chicken Opens Today

Nashville Hot Chicken has arrived at Walnut Creek.

The wait is over for custom spiced birds and beyond crunch, with a totally chilled vibe inside the converted former Mel’s Diner at 1394 N. Main St. After a sweet and boisterous Friday night opening , World Famous Hotboys opens its doors to the public today.

Co-owners Victor Ghaben and Berk Gibbs, the artist behind the impressive primary-color mural, greeted friends, family and influencers with hot fried chicken thighs available in six heat levels, from “dish wheels” to ‘workout’ to ‘painfully spicy’. (which costs an extra $1), while raucous hip-hop jams from the restaurant filled this popular downtown corner.

Ghaben and Gibbs are no strangers to the foodie fandom. Their first two locations in Oakland and Sacramento won countless accolades, and Yelp rated it the #1 fried chicken sandwich in California. Walnut Creek is the largest and perhaps the most festive of their three locations, with 42 seats inside and another 30 on the patio. A fourth site is opening this spring in Indianapolis.

World Famous Hotboys has energy, hip hop and hot chicken. The new restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. (Jessica Yadegaran/Bay Area News Group)

Inside the Walnut Creek restaurant, twinkling lights and mini flags zigzag across the ceiling. High-back booths in yellow, blue, and red fill the left wall. The bar is lined with old TVs, and kids can sip sodas while playing retro Super Mario Bros. And in the open kitchen, at least half a dozen cooks focus on birds and fries.

The opening menu echoes that of Oakland, including popular favorite, The Sando ($13.50), a generous fried chicken leg served on an oval bun with pickles and coleslaw. We went “soft” and found it nice, just a bit of warmth and an orange hue. Our neighbor ordered “med+” and said he “could really smell it”. Other options include “southern” and no spice, which our son did with his two-bite Crispy Nuggets ($10). He loved them.

This is the first World Famous Hotboys location to offer breakfast – hence the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – with options such as fried chicken and waffles, a breakfast sandwich with sausage of house chicken and a chicken stew served with rice.

Ghaben is a member of one of East Bay’s most experienced restaurant families. Mel’s Diner, a classic breakfast spot for 20 years, was run by his cousins, who are also behind Walnut Creek’s new Lita and Lafayette’s Batch & Brine.

And for dessert, you ask? Don’t leave without a bag of hot and greasy goodies ($5), hybrid donut cookies made to order and covered in cinnamon sugar. They are delicious.

Yes, you can make them ‘angry’, but we can’t confirm the level of spice. Hopefully “training wheels”.

Details: Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 1394 N. Main St. Check out the menu at

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