Good news for all of the Chick-fil-A or Popeyes lovers, Oxford is finally getting its own chicken restaurant, thanks to Brick House Cafe owner, David Kuo.
Located on 327 W. Spring St., Gobbler is set to open this October. Kuo said the new restaurant intends to satisfy your early morning and late night cravings for all things chicken and will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight during the school year. The restaurant will operate with more limited hours when Miami University classes aren’t in session.
Before Gobbler, the corner of Spring Street was empty and home to nothing but an abandoned gas station. Kuo saw a great opportunity to open a new restaurant in Oxford, especially given Miami students’ desire for a Panera or a chicken restaurant.
“One day, I looked at the location near the corner. It used to be a gas station [but] they closed a long time [ago],” said Kuo. “And I thought hey that’s not a bad looking place for business.”
Oxford’s economic development specialist Seth Cropenbaker said Gobbler’s location on a visible and high traffic corner is ideal for the restaurant. Cropenbaker says residents of Oxford have always expressed interest in a fast-casual chicken restaurant, specifically on the Facebook page Oxford Talk.
“There certainly is, no pun intended, hunger for fried chicken and the development of Gobbler,” Cropenbaker said.
Cropenbaker said that after many had expressed interest in the property, he’s happy it will become Gobbler.
“From an official municipality standpoint, there’s many elements to this building that we really like. It’s a reuse of an existing structure, so somebody didn’t go out and build a new building,” Cropenbaker said.
Gobbler’s menu will include grilled chicken, crispy chicken and spicy crispy chicken sandwiches. The menu will also include chicken nuggets, chicken strips and a variety of house-made sauces.
Kuo said Gobbler will also serve breakfast to give students an option to grab muffins, donuts or coffee on their way to campus each day.
Kuo is excited for the high-quality food Gobbler will serve, especially that of the chicken.
“Everything, all the chicken is always fresh,” Kuo said. “Because it’s deep-fried, our chicken will be especially juicy.”
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Gobbler is expected to open around the same time as the Oxvegas Chicken later this fall, leaving Oxford without fried chicken no more. Although both focus on chicken, there are distinct differences between the two restaurants.
“Gobbler is in a primarily vehicle traffic corridor … They've got a large surface parking lot, they've got outdoor seating,” Cropenbaker said. “Then OxVegas chicken’s position is Uptown on a very high pedestrian traffic corridor … They're gonna get a tremendous amount of foot traffic passing their business.”
In addition to serving students on the go, Gobbler is expected to have lots of seating, including outdoor seating, which has become a priority for the city council.
“The development of outdoor seating is also something very, very positive,” Cropenbaker said. “One lesson that we learned from COVID [is] about getting people spread out and utilizing outdoor space.”
Inside, the restaurant will have two robots helping customers clear their tables. Gobbler’s robotic helpers will even be able to talk.
“The robots will circle the inside and say something like, ‘Dirty plate please, dirty plate please,’”Kuo said.
For those not dining in, Gobbler plans to eventually offer delivery. Kuo doesn’t plan on using a third-party delivery service and will hire Gobbler’s own delivery drivers. He hopes that this will result in lower prices for customers and create delivery jobs for anyone looking for flexible work hours.
Along with delivery drivers, Gobbler is still looking for cashiers, kitchen workers and managers. Kuo hopes to be able to provide jobs to Miami students and Oxford residents.
“I wanted to do something to make the town happy,” said Kuo.