Pace Webb grew up in the Heights area and realized her culinary dreams in California.
Now, the chef and restaurateur is coming back home to launch her business — Daddy’s Chicken Shack — in February at 1223 W. 11th St.
The Woodland Heights native and graduate of the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is eager to be able to spend more time with family in Texas and grow her business across the Houston area, with the Heights location serving as the anchor and training center for future franchisees and their employees.
She is confident she will find in the Greater Heights a market willing to pay extra for a higher-quality chicken sandwich.
“I have lots of relationships there,” Webb said. “It’s a wonderful food city. It’s very diverse and welcoming. It has a ton of direct flights from all over the world and all over the nation. So it just sort of was the path of least resistance.”
The Pasadena, California-based fried chicken purveyor was born out of a successful event Webb catered with her company that garnered praise from actress Mandy Moore for her fried chicken sliders.
The idea for Daddy’s Chicken Shack, then, came after a conversation with Webb’s father recapping the chicken sliders, which were the talk of the town around Los Angeles.
“When I told my dad about it, I said, ‘Hey, this could be your retirement plan,’” Webb said. “And you can just be on the business here frying chicken and talking to the ladies. We’ll call it Daddy’s. Then he has this huge, like dad belly laugh, and I was like, ‘Oh, Daddy’s Chicken Shack, that has a nice ring to it.’”
Webb said she and her husband have helped her business grow by 200 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began because she had been ahead of the curve with online orders and delivery apps.
“If you aren’t learning how to adapt your business model to the way people want to consume, you just won’t survive,” she said.
Webb said the menu at Daddy’s has Southern and Asian influences, a nod to her husband’s Japanese heritage. Sambal, an Indonesian chili-based paste, a Sriracha mayonnaise and coconut curry are all key ingredients in her kitchen.
Webb said she embraces competition in a market saturated with fried chicken and Nashville-style hot chicken options, and believes it is great for business. She and her husband will try chicken sandwiches everywhere they travel.
“Then I can kind of say, ‘Who really is our competition here?’ ” Webb said. “We’re brutally honest about it. We have no problem, you know, complimenting other competitors and being impressed with them and learning from them. There’s enough room for all of us. Fried chicken sandwiches are like puppies and chocolate.”