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Westfield Chicken Restaurant is reopening and expanding in Wilbraham, West Springfield

Westfield Chicken Restaurant is reopening and expanding in Wilbraham, West Springfield

Westfield Chicken Restaurant is reopening and expanding in Wilbraham, West Springfield

WESTFIELD — It all starts in Westfield.

“We’re coming to Massachusetts,” said Lou Sterling, founder and CEO of Rooster’s Chicken & Waffles.

Sterling started the southern fried chicken chain in Wethersfield, Conn., during the COVID-19 emergency, a shift from his previous work in insurance. He and a franchisee opened the first Rooster’s location in Massachusetts last year at 78 Franklin St., Westfield. However, the franchisee had no experience running a restaurant, Sterling said, and the store closed in February. It had a soft reopening in May with what Sterling called more experienced and active leaders.

Things have been going well since then. Sterling said the restaurant has received good support from the community, with good reviews and some repeat customers.

“I think Westfield will definitely be a flagship in this area,” he said.

The restaurant hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday. Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Waterfield, Mayor Michael McCabe, State Representative Kelly Pease and a representative from State Senator John Velis’ office presented congratulatory citations to Sterling and Sajid Khan, owner of the Chicopee franchise of the restaurant.

“The reopening of Rooster’s represents the continued expansion of our Franklin Street business district. This restaurant brings another cuisine to Franklin Street, joining the likes of Santiago’s, Feng Ye and Mi Ranchito Tex Mex,” Waterfield said in a statement.

Sigma Mattress, a manufacturer of Feeding Hills mattresses, opened a storefront in the same complex last month.

Ward 3 local councilor Bridget Matthews-Kane was also delighted.

“I am delighted that another business is opening in the ward. I hope they all come to Franklin Street and check them out,” she said.

Rooster’s second location in western Massachusetts, at 466 Chicopee St., Chicopee, opened four months ago. Two more locations are planned soon: one at 2341 Boston Road, Wilbraham, in two weeks, and one at 164 Elm St., West Springfield, by July 1.

The company is also looking at locations in Agawam and Northampton, from where it plans to expand to the Boston area.

The Rooster recipes come from Shateema Sterling’s grandmother in Georgia. On the menu is a chicken sandwich for $7.49 and a chicken wrap for $7.99. Both can be ordered as combos with fries and a soda for $12.43 and $11.49, respectively. Lou Sterling’s favorite, a soft serve and waffles, is $13.89 for three; a five-piece is $15.29.

“We have a secret pearl sugar that goes into the waffles to give you that nice, sweet, satisfying taste that everyone gets addicted to,” he said.

Sauces include sriracha, sweet chili, garlic parm, “Korean” and “dirty bird,” the spiciest flavor.

“The dirty bird is definitely a fan favorite,” Sterling said. “When you take the first bite, it’s relaxing, then, bam! It hits you like, ‘Woah!’”

Sides are $4.49 and include corn fritters, mashed potatoes with gravy, fried plantains, fried pickles, mac and cheese and pikliz, a Haitian sauerkraut condiment.

Rooster’s is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at 78 Franklin St., Westfield. Delivery is available through DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub or at roosterschickenandwaffles.com. The store also caters to all events, Sterling said.

Other locations include Chicopee in Massachusetts and Wethersfield, Middletown, Waterbury and New Britain in Connecticut.