Located about a quarter mile from the Pasadena City College main campus next to a Starbucks is Major Dave’s Chicken, a fried chicken restaurant that ups the ante on quality with fresh ingredients and special preparation.
Major Dave’s Chicken was opened in August by Major David Caldwell of the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Major Dave had been in the Marines for 18 years, and, like many veterans, had difficulty finding employment after his return from Afghanistan a little over 2 years ago.
“I got sick of knocking on doors and not finding work, so I just decided to open my business. Thought that if I can’t get a job then I’ll make my own job,” Caldwell said. He then took the funds he had been saving since his deployment, along with a small amount of crowd funding, and created Major Dave’s Chicken with his partner and fiancee Jill Bush, a teacher at Polytechnic School in Pasadena.
Major Dave’s prides itself on its use of only the freshest ingredients that Caldwell believes sets them apart from apart from other fast food restaurants. “We use a much better product,” Caldwell said, “It’s never frozen, American grown, free range, no gmo feed, no hormones, no steroids, no processing.”
Major Dave’s also prepares its chicken in smaller batches with the same recipe that Caldwell’s father used when he was growing up. “I thought it would be interesting to open a fried chicken restaurant that was like home cooking, like comfort food, but it’s made of a better quality product,” Caldwell said.
As for how it tastes, restaurant patron Samantha Green got the spicy chicken and “liked it a lot,” she said. “The crust was crispy and not too thick. It was also seasoned very well, like it actually soaked into the chicken and didn’t just sit on the surface.”
Green also mentioned that the bourbon baked beans were excellent and made for a wonderful side, especially for someone looking for a different protein besides chicken as the baked beans, along with the toasted Brussel sprouts, contain bacon.
“I got the Kale Ceasar Salad with the regular chicken and the whipped cauliflower, and it was really good,” said restaurant patron Sarah Miller, who also mentioned that the cauliflower was a good substitute for the lack of mashed potatoes on the menu.
Students can find Major Dave’s Chicken at 163 N. Hill Avenue in Pasadena. Students and veterans who visit the establishment will also be welcomed with a 10% discount with a valid ID.