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Kyle Preston/Submitted

By Jordan Rogers

Twist Hot Chicken, a locally owned and operated spicy chicken restaurant in Peoria, is looking provide a fast-casual dining option to the West Valley.

Co-owner Kyle Preston says he believes his restaurant offers something different.

“We bring in interesting flavors from all over the world to create a one-of-a-kind hot chicken experience that is not like any other hot chicken restaurant you’ve ever been to,” Preston says.

The restaurant offers five spicy chicken sandwiches that guests can customize.

In addition, everything on the menu from dipping sauces to spice recipes and even the batters are made from scratch. The buns are delivered daily from the well-known local bakery Noble.

The feedback from customers has been very positive since the restaurant opened on February 19.

Preston says they have received more than 300 orders on a busy Saturday. Typically, the day finishes at 200 orders, ranging from one to seven sandwiches per order.

“We’ve had nothing but great feedback, and when you’re as busy as we’ve been, you know, lines out the door and busting through the seams to get in, the consensus is pretty live that it’s one of the best hot chicken restaurants in the entire Valley,” he says.

Preston says Twist Hot Chicken brings a new style of restaurant to Peoria that is typically more akin to more trendy section of the Valley.

“If you walk into Twist Hot Chicken, I think you would see an interior design that you would expect to see down in Phoenix Downtown or on Melrose or in Tempe,” he says. “You just don’t see that here in Peoria or in Glendale, or just the West Valley. I think it’s coming.

“I think more hip, trendy, more scratch kitchens are going to make their way over. I’m just glad that I was one of the first to realize it.”

Twist Hot Chicken got its start by happenstance.

Preston was in San Diego during the COVID-19 pandemic, attempting to have some time away with his wife and children. While there, he stumbled upon a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop named Twist. Inside the restaurant was a head chef, Saad ElQuarati.

While the restaurant didn’t specialize in hot chicken, Preston recognized the talent and interesting flavor combination ideas that ElQuarati brought to the table.

The two exchanged numbers, and a few months later Preston asked ElQuarati to open a restaurant with him. Within two months, Preston says that ElQuarati moved to the Valley to open Twist Hot Chicken.

“I wanted to keep the original name of his sandwich shop, ‘Twist,’” he says. “But I wanted to focus on the niche of hot chicken because the West Valley is totally underserved as far as trending food and foodie food, great food goes.”

It didn’t take much thinking for Preston to figure out that chicken sandwiches were the avenue he wanted to go with for his new restaurant.

“If you research chicken sandwiches, they are like the No. 1-selling item in the food industry right now,” he says. “They’re just so hot. I knew that Saad with his flavor profiles could create something unique.

“Every one of us that are a part of the team are passionate about scratch-made food.”

With its success, Preston is interested in expansion in the next few years in the West Valley.

Preston said he has received complaints regarding the food being overpriced, as some can tend to think his food is more “fast-food style,” but to that end, Preston knows what he is offering.

“This is not fast food,” Preston says. “It’s a small kitchen; it’s a small restaurant. It’s a fast-casual-style restaurant, but it’s a scratch kitchen, just like you would make food in your own house.”

Twist Hot Chicken

8386 W. Thunderbird Road, Peoria

623-217-2714

twisthotchicken.com