Saucy Chicken: A new hotspot for White Station students



Saucy Chicken opens their new location on Poplar Avenue, right across the street from White Station. They offer a place for students to come after school and hang out with friends while enjoying the restaurant’s twist on Southern comfort food.

For some business owners, moving to a new location can be a scary and risky decision. But Cy Washer, co-owner of Saucy Chicken, found his new location on Poplar Avenue full of some great opportunities to serve comfort foods. 

“It’s just a casual, fresh prepared restaurant. Our main focus originally was just chicken tenders,” Washer said. 

Although chicken tenders are definitely a fan favorite and something almost anyone can enjoy, Washer decided to explore other options for the menu. He and his staff have expanded their menu to include comfort food staples like burgers and seafood.

“My family and I really like to try new restaurants, and it sounded good, so we tried it. I liked that it is a family friendly restaurant since it has food that appeals to all ages,” Jordan Kirby (10) said. 

Kirby and many other White Station students make the five minute walk down the block to eat at Saucy Chicken and enjoy their bright and welcoming interior. This proximity has also made it possible for the restaurant to collaborate with White Station easily. 

“So far we’ve done a spirit night with [White Station], which I was really, really excited about. I would love to do that again and, you know, make it like a regular thing for the high school,” Washer said. 

Back at Saucy Chicken’s old location, Washer would notice students from Crosstown High School making regular trips to their restaurant location in Crosstown Concourse. So, he created the student special, a small meal that could be paid in cash with tax included. This way, students could pay for their after school meals without having to worry about change. Unfortunately, operations at Crosstown came to an unexpected halt, as it did with many businesses, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“After the pandemic started, the traffic [at Crosstown Concourse] was very nonexistent, and we couldn’t continue at that location,” Washer said, “So we started scouting other locations, and East Memphis gets a lot of traffic.” 

Now, being so close to White Station, Saucy Chicken is able to continue their student special to a much larger audience. But things haven’t been all smooth-sailing at the Poplar location. 

“It seems that people just pass us by on Poplar and just hit up the drive-throughs rather than Saucy Chicken. [So], our biggest challenge right now is letting people know that we’re here and what we do,”  Washer said. 

It’s very convenient for drivers to stop by a fast food chain and pick up their food quickly, but Washer stresses the importance of quality food. He and his colleagues’ backgrounds in fine dining have made Saucy Chicken more refined than most quick service restaurants with frozen food. 

“It’s a prep intensive menu, but we keep it prep intensive because we like to be able to serve it quickly. We’re trying to really find that balance between top quality, like what you’d get at a fine dining or sit-down restaurant, but with the quick service that you would find at [fast food chains],” Washer said. 

Despite these early challenges with recognition, Washer is still confident in Saucy Chicken’s ability to gain popularity, hopefully with more White Station students. Even students acknowledge and understand the importance of trusty businesses like Saucy Chicken around the school to serve as a safe place for students to stay after school. 

“I feel like the restaurants and businesses around our school affect our community of students greatly,” Kirby said, “I feel as though there is a relationship where the restaurants provide a safe place for students to go study and have a snack, and the students [are able to] help the businesses.”

Saucy Chicken stands as the next contender for a new hangout spot for White Station students with its proximity, potential job opportunities and of course, popular food. 

“There’s so much in this area, there’s a little bit of everything. I think it’s great because there’s just so much opportunity for the [students],” Washer said.