There is nothing quite like a fresh, mouth-watering spicy chicken sandwich. Such a fast food delicacy can be an easy find, but one that triggers constant cravings and ensnares the senses is truly like hitting the jackpot. The fact is, this coveted golden masterpiece may be just within reach.
Blazin’ J’s, a local chicken joint in its fifth year of operation, is known for its spicy chicken sandwiches, made fresh on the grill before your eyes. Starting in 2019, the fast food restaurant currently boasts five locations, each with its own unique flavor and style. The service may be at the pace of your standard drive-thru, but the fresh, never frozen chicken surely exceeds one’s expectations, even if you are looking for the best spicy chicken sandwich in town.
Their menu is simple but packs a solid punch. Whether you are craving a sandwich, bites, tenders, wings, or a chicken garden salad, Blazin’ J’s is more than capable of fulfilling your zesty poultry cravings. Even if you are vegetarian or not in the mood for meat, the joint still has you covered with their fantastic crispy fries or their Belgian Waffles. Customers also get the flexibility to go as spicy as they want or with no spice at all, as Blazin J’s has five spice levels – No Heat, Mild, Hot Honey, Hot, and Blazin’ Hot.
Just like their sauce, the Blazin’ J’s founder, Lancaster native Jabron Taylor, is bold in his endeavors. The restaurant’s story began with a dream by Taylor, then employed at Arconic Mill Products, a nearby manufacturing plant. He approached his colleague Dustin Lewis with a proposal to quit and start pursuing his dream of running a restaurant. Initially laughing at the idea, the pair indeed left Arconic in 2019 to open their own chicken shack. With the help of Dustin’s wife Heather, a clinical coordinator at a dentist’s office, they began experimenting with various recipes and styles, figuring out the flavor and vibe they desired for their restaurant.
On Nov. 15 of that year, Taylor’s dream became a reality when the first Blazin’ J’s opened on King Street in downtown Lancaster. Less than two months later, a second location opened in the food court at Park City Mall. While the chicken joint experienced a promising start, challenges soon came when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As many Lancaster residents had to quarantine, it became fairly common for struggling local businesses to lay off workers or even shut down. Thankfully, Blazin’ J’s did not suffer such a fate.
“If it wasn’t for the community of Lancaster, we would not have made it,” says Heather Lewis, now co-owner of Blazin’ J’s. “They really showed up and gave so much support, that is why we are still here.”
Today, Blazin J’s leadership team consists of Taylor and Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, as well as Andre Cole. Traveling throughout the region to oversee operations at their four restaurants and the food truck, the team works together to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that Blazin J’s does its best to serve the community. The leadership team takes pride in supporting Lancaster by working with local businesses and organizations. The Lancaster locations primarily get their ingredients from the Restaurant Store on Lititz Pike and Central Market.
Especially amidst and after the pandemic, many of Lancaster’s residents faced economic hardships and struggled to find decent jobs. To alleviate this, Blazin’ J’s team works with local rehabilitation homes to hire departing residents who struggle with getting a job due to their criminal history or related difficulties finding employment. With many of these former residents recovering from addiction, working at Blazin J’s helps them get back on their feet and pursue a secure job and career.
Seeking to take the leap to turn his beloved small chain into a franchise, Taylor intends to open as many as 100 locations in the next five years. The growing restaurant chain already has its foot in the door, having opened two new locations in West Chester and on The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) campus in Ewing this past year. Although the owners intend to expand in the future, they prioritize maintaining their current locations before looking for potential franchisees. Regardless of their plan, Blazin’s J’s is sure to one day be a household name.
Regarding what makes the restaurant special, Heather Lewis says, “everyone at Blazin J’s makes the place unique because they all bring different personalities and their own vibe to the team. We may all come from different walks of life, but we all want to be involved in the community and make it a family. We put a lot of love into Blazin’ J’s, and I hope it shows in our food.”
To give back to the local community, Blazin J’s offers a 10% discount to all Millersville students who show their student ID at checkout.