The reputation of Angry Chickz, a Nashville style fried chicken west coast phenomenon, has preceded its entry into Ceres. Long lines of customers have been mainstay in the Mitchell Road parking lot since its grand opening on Friday, July 9. Apparently a lot of folks are familiar with the small chain because of the next closest one in Fresno and a spicy fried chicken craze in the state.For now, you cannot try the food at 1778 Mitchell Road, Suite 206, without being patient. Sergio Zepeda and Traci Lovelady didn’t seem to mind spending 20 minutes in line before they reached the front door on Thursday afternoon. They wanted to see why the eatery has been so popular.

“It seems like they just focus on hot chicken and keep it simple with the sides,” said Zepeda, who had never tried their product before.

The couple didn’t seem to mind the 98-degree heat of the afternoon, with Sergio quipping, “I guess you have to fight fire with fire.”

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. but customers have been reporting lines when they thought there would be none.

The grand opening was a success, marked by giveaways and lots of food and one lucky winner taking home a big screen TV, but did not happen without confusion. While a line of customers extended into the Walmart parking lot to the north, others were confused about the location since the chain announced in social media posts that the restaurant was opening in Modesto – not Ceres.

The menu is simple and features chicken sliders and tenders cooked with no spice to light spice to one so hot it’s labeled “Angry, Sign a Waiver.” It is cooked with ghost peppers and the Carolina reaper AKA the hottest pepper known to man. Other levels are labeled: Mild, light spice; Medium, perfect heat; Hot, feel the burn; and X-Hot, call 911.

Sides sold include fries, mac and cheese, slaw and rice. The interior is simple with walls painted in simple solid colors, one wall adorned with a comic woman with a speech bubble reading, “I like you but I love chicken.” The wall on the other side of the building reads in large letters: “money can’t buy you HAPPINESS but it can buy FRIED CHICKEN!”   Tables seem scarce as the Valley hangs onto concerns about COVID-19 and social distancing.

Waiting for his food inside was Henry Amirah, a Fresno resident who commutes daily to his job at Furniture City in Modesto. He drove all the way from near the mall to get lunch.

“First of all, it’s very clean,” said Amirah when asked why the eatery is popular. “Second of all, it’s not oily like the oil you feel like you’ve cooked at the house. Third, it’s unique. It just reminds people of the original days of good chicken sandwiches.”

Angry Chickz, which sports a company logo of a chicken dabbing, was founded in East Hollywood in 2019. Aside from Ceres, locations are in Fresno, San Jose, Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Visalia, Bakersfield, Van Nuys, Glendale, Hollywood, Oceanside and Las Vegas.