Hot Chicken Takeover is making good on its name.

Hot Chicken Takeover is making good on its name.

The restaurant that started serving its pepper-infused chicken in a pop-up space in Olde Towne East and moved to the North Market two years ago will open a brick-and-mortar store at 4203 N. High St. in Clintonville.

The location will be near Fusian and Northstar Cafe in a newly constructed retail center.

"We took careful consideration as to where we would go next," founder Joe DeLoss said in a press release. He added the company used customer feedback, market data and other factors to find the right spot for expansion.

The new restaurant is expected to open in the spring, bringing its full menu of chicken, mac and cheese, cole slaw and banana pudding, and adding a limited beer and wine selection.

Hot Chicken Takeover is the prime example of how the restaurant industry has changed in recent years, said Dennis Lombardi, principal of Insight Dynamics, a food-service consultant.

"Fifteen years ago, you had an idea, found a spot, opened a restaurant and hoped for the best," Lombardi said. "Now, you can test and refine your food, figure out who your customers are, get feedback and all of those things with a food truck and a pop-up store."

Lombardi predicted Hot Chicken Takeover's move into Clintonville will work because of its careful, slow expansion and brand recognition.

"They will open that store with a lot more understanding of their customer and what they want and how to provide it," he said.

The new location will have lunch and dinner hours. The North Market location, which will remain open, serves lunch only.

Clintonville is far enough away from the North Market to keep the locations from cannibalizing each other, and should provide strong dinner traffic, Lombardi said.

The expansion into Clintonville was funded by a round of private-equity investment that DeLoss announced last year, led by Louisville, Kentucky-based Access Ventures.

The investment was to add three to four stores in central Ohio in the next few years.

Hot Chicken Takeover has hired a marketing director, Dilara Casey, formerly with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

DeLoss said in the statement that he hopes each new store supports 50 employees. Hot Chicken Takeover has received national attention for its focus on hiring people that have criminal backgrounds or records that have barred them from many other job opportunities.

Of course, DeLoss needs to sell a lot of chicken to make his plans materialize. Lombardi said that shouldn't be a problem.

"Chicken is popular," Lombardi said, "and will be for as long as you and I are eating."

jmalone@dispatch.com

@j_d_malone