Chicken Shack was originally a small sweet shop named Suburban Ice Cream Parlor located at 1662 East Blvd. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was established in 1935 by the late Thomas “Tommy” H. Delpit, with a capital of thirty-five cents. In 1937 he changed the name to Chicken Shack and added several items to the menu such as red beans and rice, homemade pies, cakes and seafood. While living in New Orleans, Louisiana (the largest city in the state known for its traditional food), Tommy developed his own unique recipes for frying chicken and other Creole dishes, which have been imitated but never successfully duplicated.
Tommy built a very prosperous restaurant business, using all of his original recipes.The Chicken Shack drew famous clientele from all over the country, such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Hazel Scott, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Lionel Hampton and Count Basie, who sought out Chicken Shack for its famous batter fried chicken, seafood, sandwiches and home cooked plate lunches.
When Tommy died in 1959, his only son, Joe Delpit, began running the family business at only eighteen years of age. He maintained the same high standards instituted by his father and by 1973, he and his young wife, Precious, became sole owners. They established a lease/purchase agreement with Jim Dandy Fast Foods(Host International) and acquired four of their stores in Baton Rouge which were remodeled to Chicken Shack specifications. The original location was also remodeled and converted into a luncheon cafeteria style restaurant.
On October 23, 1981, Joe Delpit, his wife Precious, and his childhood friend, Henry Baptiste, who worked for Mr. Delpit’s father as a kid, formed Chicken Shack Systems Inc. In addition to the regular preparing and selling food at retail outlets, the corporation is also engaged in the development, sales and management of franchises in chicken and other related fast food businesses. The original location is now Chicken Shack business office, while the other stores operate as fast food stores. These stores specialize in fried chicken, rice dressing, fresh seafood, French fried potatoes, po-boys, potato salad, homemade pies, soft drinks, and have recently added lunch plates to the menu selection.