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Slim Chickens set to open Feb. 26
Former Hardee’s site has undergone complete renovation
Slim Chickens
The new Slim Chickens at the renovated site of the former Hardee's is nearing completion and set to open on Feb. 26. (SCOTT BRYANT/staff)

After six months of renovation to become a Slim Chickens restaurant, the former Hardee’s site on Northside Drive, will open under its new banner on Feb. 26.

The announcement came Tuesday in a press release from Peachtree Development & Investments, whose partners Jim Bennett and Rusty Skalla own the restaurant.

Local contractor C. Merrill Construction converted the Statesboro site into a Slim Chickens, which will be the second location in Georgia for the fast-growing, fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in chicken tenders, wings, sandwiches, salads, shakes and jar desserts.

The restaurant is expected to create about 75 jobs.

When the Hardee’s franchise closed in May 2022, the building was already in noticeable disrepair, with some shingles flaking from the roof and a sheet of plywood forming part of the drive-thru surface. While the conversion to a Slim Chickens has stayed within the approximately 3,700-square-foot existing footprint of the building, the developers gave the city a construction cost estimate of $475,000, the place received a lot more than a touch-up.

“We’re converting the building. It’s going to look 100 percent brand-new and 100 percent different than what it looks like today, but we are keeping the same footprint, very similar to what we did in Evans, Georgia,” Bennett said in August.

For the Slim Chickens in Evans, the developers renovated a building previously vacated by a different chicken tenders-based restaurant chain, PDQ.

A re-created drive-thru, but with the window in about the same position as at Hardee’s, is part of the plan for the Slim Chickens in Statesboro.

“We’ll add all the nuances of a prototypical Slim Chickens building to that Hardee’s building so that at the end of the day it will look like a completely new and revamped building,” he said.

Bennett and Skala, as Peachtree Development, have plans to build 11 more Slim Chickens places in Georgia and South Carolina and around the I-95 corridor to northern Florida, for a total of 13 stores in their franchise operating company, Southeast Slims Hospitality LLC.

“We have confidence in the brand and the product, and we’re excited to bring it to the town of Statesboro,” Bennett said.

The website for Slim Chickens – which was founded in 2005 in Fayetteville, Arkansas – lists the addresses of at least 186 franchise locations in 35 U.S. states, plus 11 locations in the United Kingdom and one in Kuwait. 

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