Sharp-eyed observers of New York’s fast-food scene may have noticed that Kentucky Fried Chicken isn’t the only poultry franchise whose name reduces to KFC. Although Kansas Fried Chicken’s two outlets recently shut down, Kennedy Fried Chicken continues to thrive, with more than 40 locations scattered around the city. While the KFC phenomenon holds a sort of warped fascination (imagine Kansas Fried Chicken’s start-up meetings: “Well, Kentucky’s already taken, and Kansas is the only other state that begins with a K …”), an even weirder trope can be found at 437 Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, where Kennedy Fried Chicken appears to have inspired a bizarre copycat – JFK Fried Chicken.
Aside from adding a whole new dimension to the abbreviation situation – it’s not KFC, it’s JFKFC – JFK Fried Chicken also raises intriguing questions about our thirty-fifth president. Long thought to have been a clam-chowder partisan, was he actually a chicken maven on the order of Colonel Sanders? If so, nobody’s saying. “We just liked the name, that’s it,” said one JFK employee, who declined to be identified. A follow-up call was greeted with “Look, I have a business to run – no time to talk.” Which just goes to show that fried-chicken hospitality, by any name, loses something during the trip from Kentucky to New York.