Part of Milwaukee's Northside
Champion Chicken has grown, but never changed from its original credo of providing good freshly-made food at fair prices. That was the original goal of brothers Edward and Richard Seebach back in 1959 when they began operating out of a tiny storefront on 84th street, just north of Lisbon Avenue. The name was suggested by their father who pointed out it would come first in the telephone book at the time.
Back then you could get a great chicken dinner at Champion Chicken for only $1.35, but you couldn't’t eat it there. Food was for carryout and delivery only. At that time it was a small operation. Richard answered the phone and did the cooking, and Ed delivered the food.
In 1960 the brothers learned that the former Jimbo’s Frozen Custard stand on 76th and Lisbon was available for lease so they decided to move there to expand. The new menu included all sorts of popular sandwiches (hamburgers were 30cents), soda fountain treats, along with the standard chicken, BBQ ribs, fish, and pizza. You could also “Dine In” at Champion Chicken if there was eight or less in your party. The new location also had counter service with eleven stools.
In 1967 the property owner sold the land to the gasoline company. The actual building was offered to the Seebach brothers for a $1 if they would agree to move it, but they declined. Ed and Richard, instead, moved their business to its current location which was another vacant custard stand and diner. They now had a real restaurant with counter and booth services. They also added carhops who brought your food directly to you during the warm months. Ed and Richard started their popular catering service at this time and their legendary chicken was enjoyed from Chicago to Green Bay.
The brothers located a 1954 panel truck that had served as a promotional device for the Sperry Candy Company for their “Chicken Dinner” candy bar. It would become much more famous as the Champion Chicken Truck through the years being unique and the only one in the area. The huge bird was moved to a new van every few years. The original metal chicken was retired in 2003, and replaced with a fiberglass chicken.
With the growing success of the business it was expanded in 1980 to add a large dining room on the east side of the restaurant. Richard would eventually retire from the restaurant business, but Ed continued on.
In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Ed started the first of sixteen annual Chickenfests on the restaurant's grounds that featured outdoor dining and a variety of music and entertainment [Including the third Seebach brother David, who is a successful magician].
In 1996 Champion Chicken overwent a large remodeling project which created the restaurant that stands today. We boast a menu that far eclipses the humble offerings in 1959. So try our chicken, fish, or anything else on our generous menu. We are sure you'll be impessed.
Be a part of Milwaukee’s north side history and stop by today.
Champion Chicken Through the Years
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