Howlin’ Ray’s is bringing its hot chicken to Pasadena — and is aiming for no lines at its second location

Nashville-style hot chicken from Howlin’ Ray’s. The restaurant plans to open a second location in Pasadena in just under a year.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Howlin’ Ray’s, the Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant in Chinatown, has announced it will open a long-awaited second location in Pasadena.

The restaurant, which is scheduled to open in a little less than a year, is to be located on Arroyo Parkway, just off the 110 Freeway.

You can credit Howlin’ Ray’s with sparking the current hot-chicken craze sweeping Los Angeles. But though dozens of copycat restaurants and pop-ups have cropped up in recent years, Howlin’ Ray’s remains the go-to restaurant for people craving the burn of hot chicken.


“I got so inspired by the fact that there are so many imitators,” said Johnny Ray Zone, Howlin’ Ray’s chef and owner, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Amanda.

Nashville hot chicken is taking over Los Angeles »

Howlin’ Ray’s, which started as a food truck before opening a location in the Far East Plaza in 2016, is known as much for its long lines — waits can get up to three hours on weekends — as it is for its fiery fried chicken and sandwiches.

“This will be more family-oriented and more efficient,” Ray said of the new 2,000-square-foot location. “We’re going to shoot for not having a line. I don’t want to be associated with always having a line.”


Ray said he may do away with quarter birds at the new location, but the menu will largely be the same as at the Chinatown restaurant.

He said they chose Pasadena for their second location because they fell in love with the city — so much, in fact, that he and Amanda recently moved there.

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