Howlin' Ray's Serves Up Nashville-inspired Hot Chicken In Los Angeles

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In June of 2015, Chef Johnny Ray Zone started Howlin' Ray's, a Nashville Hot Chicken food truck with his wife Amanda Chapman, a soulful foodie raised on southern hospitality. Chef Johnny is a Los Angeles native who has spent his life honing his skills in the culinary industry. In 2016, they opened up a brick and mortar location in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The success of Howlin' Rays is built on the hard work that Chef Johnny put in over the years, whether it was being part of the opening team at Gordon Ramsay at The London, or on the staff at Nobu West Hollywood, or part of the team at Bouchon Beverly Hills. Those experiences led him to visit Nashville while working at Husk Nashville. It was during that visit when the course of his culinary journey would shift, when he was introduced to the local spicy fried chicken specialty and fell in love with the dish. By 2015 when they returned to LA, Johnny and Amanda decided to open up the first exclusively Nashville Hot Chicken food truck on the west coast.

"The people of Los Angeles were hungry for hot chicken," says Tess Meza, the Executive Coordinator Director for Howlin' Rays. "They just didn't know it yet."

After a "hot chicken tour," Johnny and Amanda fell in love with the spirit and the camaraderie of the dish. Eventually, they brought all they’d learned back to LA, and played their luck on a food truck. "It took a little time to get the wheels in motion… but soon enough, their hot chicken food truck took off—thanks in part to our fan-favorite Hot Chicken Sando, a sandwich Amanda first put together on a whim during a routine stop, after buying some buns from a local hamburger stand.

"Each time the truck made an appearance, crowds gathered more and more," says Tess. "In 2015, the truck made its final stop, and only a few months later, Howlin’ Ray’s started its new life as a go-to restaurant in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza."

With six different heat profiles on the chicken, there is a flavor for everyone, even those who think they can handle the Howlin' tempereate, which is the hottest.

Using Stickers to Promote Howlin' Ray's


Howlin' Rays uses sticker sheets as part of the merch that they send out from online orders. You can see the clear kiss cut sticker sheets above, with various branding elements and whimsical peel offs that create a fun sticking experience for their customers. Below you can see the die cut stickers they created for their signature sandwich. You can find the stickers and other merch in the Shop tab on the Howlin' Ray's website.

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The future is burning hot and bright at Howlin’ Ray’s. And it’s only getting hotter!