From Kenny Rogers Roasters to Flav's Fried Chicken: What's with Celebs and Poultry Shacks?



Oh great. Flavor Flav has started his own chain of chicken shacks. The first, Flav's Fried Chicken, opened in Clinton, Iowa this week, next door to a KFC.

Keep fighting the power, Flav.

To his credit, Flav "went to cooking school in 1978 and I got a degree in cheffing." His family owned a soul food cafe when he was a kid. And he's going to work, frying up the first batch of his New York-style fried chicken.

It's not like Flavor Flav's the first celebrity to venture into the restaurant business. Or even the chicken business. What attracts celebrities to chicken restaurants? That's a mystery for the ages.

Silver fox country crooner Kenny Rogers opened his first Kenny Rogers Roasters, dedicated to wood-fired rotisserie birds, in 1991, but filed for bankruptcy in 1998. Could Jerry Seinfeld have been the problem? A 1996 episode of Seinfeld placed a Kenny Rogers Roasters across the street from Kramer's apartment, with "a giant red sun in the shape of a chicken" on the roof. Problems ensued.

While Kenny doesn't have much business presence in the U.S. with his "chicken supernova", his restaurants still thrive in southeast Asia.

Jay-Z 's investing in Brooklyn-based wing joint Buffalo Boss. Jay-Z's cousin Jamar White opened the restaurant four months ago. His famous kin's financial presence increased business by 60 percent the week the news broke. Does he have "99 Chicken Bones" now?

Loretta Lynn owns the restaurant rated number one by in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Granted, there's only one restaurants in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. While Loretta Lynn's Kitchen isn't a dedicated chicken joint, surely the menu's heavy with fried chicken, as she's probably still trying to get rid of all that Crisco she stockpiled in the 1980s.

At least two musicians have won the game of chicken. Soul goddess Gladys Knight and the late gospel stalwart Ron Winans opened Gladys and Ron's Chicken and Waffles in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1997, the same year Winans suffered his first massive heart attack. While other chicken and waffle restaurants existed decades prior, Knight and Winans' big names helped convince a nation that yes, four whole fried wings served atop a plate-sized waffle and drenched in syrup and butter - a.k.a. The Midnight Train - is an awesome idea. Even professional glutton Adam Richman of Man vs. Food can't resist bursting into song before filling his gullet. Oddly (or not), they speak of Winans as if he's still alive, despite his death from heart disease in 2005.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention St. Louis' own connection to musical fame and chicken. Robbie Montgomery, owner of Sweetie Pie's, left her spot as an Ikette for Ike and Tina Turner, and vocalist in the girl group The Mirettes, to go into the restaurant business. Although she's best known locally for her killer mac and cheese, she fries up some fine chicken wings.

Tomorrow: Celebrities who've ventured into the food business who probably should have stayed away...