The McHardy's Chicken & Fixin' building at 1458 N. Broad Street has a history of feeding the community that goes back further than the restaurant's opening in 2001.
"This building used to be the Broad Street Mission; they have always fed people from this building," said Rahman Mogilles, who runs McHardy's with his mother Alvi Mogilles.
The Mogilles take pride in providing a service to their community by serving high-quality food at very reasonable prices. "That's why we do the breakfast—it's not for me to make money," Rahman said. "My grandma said if you hold your hand too tight you can't get anything in it."
McHardy's started out selling five pieces of chicken for $2.74 and fries for 99 cents in 2001, and prices have risen just minimally since then to keep up with inflation.
Rahman said he has always been in the Broad Street area. "It's like the backbone, for me at least, of the city," he said, and he loves the surrounding businesses, like CoCo Hut and Community Book Center. The culturally diverse neighborhoods surrounding McHardy's bring in customers from India, Jamaica, and Nigeria.
The family came up with the idea for McHardy's in 1999. Rahman's father, a banker, invented the chicken recipe, and the first menu consisted of chicken, fries, jalapeño peppers and drinks. After 2006, dinner rolls, red beans and rice and side items were added to the menu, and fish was added in 2010. The restaurant has offered a breakfast combo, juice and coffee for about seven weeks. The combo deal—grits, sausage, eggs and toast—is provided for less than $2.
McHardy's serves up thousands of pounds of chicken each week, with Super Bowl weekend taking the cake for highest sales. The restaurant has been known to fry up 65 cases of chicken plus party wings—more than 11,000 pounds of chicken. Rahman's goal is to be officially recognized as the world record holder for most chicken fried, so that he can show his daughters his name in the Guinness Book of World Records. The current record is 2000 pounds. But Rahman also emphasizes that quality cannot be compromised for quantity.
The Mogilleses employ six cutters in order to give customers the best product. "We trim all tail fat, all back fat. We have the cleanest product you'll find in fast food," Rahman said. "It's like you cook at home. I'm a finance major; I don't know how to do all that preservative stuff," he said.
Rahman is a graduate of Morehouse College, where he obtained a minor in economics in addition to his finance major. Alvi Mogilles has an executive Master's in Business Administration and a Master's in Public Health. With their combined backgrounds, the family has know-how for all aspects running a successful and delicious business.
McHardy's has also seen hard times, but the Mogilles family has always come back to serve the Broad Street community. The restaurant saw four feet of water and was completely devastated after Hurricane Katrina, Rahman said. "We had to rebuild from the ground up," he said. About a month or two later, he and his family were some of the first people back in town. Seven months after that, the restaurant caught fire and the family rebuilt again. "The fire took us longer to rebuild than the actual flood," he said.
McHardy's is open for breakfast and lunch, and the store has another location in the West Bank.