The Chicken Salad Chick's Latest Venture
Stacy Brown was divorced with three young children to support. At first, she just loved eating chicken salad, then she began making it. By gathering advice and recipe suggestions from a number of friends, she soon knew how to make great chicken salad. She had a good friend named Kevin who happened to be a whiz at computers and business . . . who eventually became her husband. They decided to start selling her chicken salad from a tiny space in Auburn, Alabama.
The first day they sold 40 pounds of chicken salad. The next day they sold 80 pounds. Clearly, they had a product people wanted, but they had a lot to learn about running a business and keeping up with the regulations of serving food to the public. Kinks were worked out, and hoops were jumped through. Before long, they were on solid footing, and the varieties of chicken salad began to emerge along with catchy names. Do the terms Cranberry Kelli, Fruity Fran, or Olivia's Old South ring a bell?
To meet the demand of clamoring customers, other locations had to be opened. Eventually, the idea of franchising emerged. By 2022, there were almost 300 locations across numerous states.
But, in the middle of all the craziness, Kevin was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and died in 2015.
A few years ago, Stacy sold her business and married King Braswell. With King's expertise in horticulture and Stacy's knowledge of restaurants, they combined their dreams and vision into what is now located on 12 beautiful acres on Frederick Road in Opelika, Alabama. It is called BOTANIC.
The property has two restaurants, a hydroponic greenhouse, a garden center, a live music venue, a coffee shop/bakery, and a culinary market where you can buy foods to go.
I was not in town long enough to make a dinner reservation, but I roamed the grounds and bought items from the market. The main building was not quite finished when I visited in January, but I'm sure it is going full throttle by now. Dinner at The Grille is on my Bucket List for the near future, and I suggest you put it on yours as well. I will also plan to bring back some plants from the garden center. Every detail of Botanic has been carefully planned. I believe the Chicken Salad Chick has another winner on her hands.
P.S. I have to smile. Today would have been my mother's 93rd birthday. I would have enjoyed taking her to Botanic. It's the kind of place she would have loved.