Behind the Name: Vancouver's Juke Fried Chicken

How the popular Southern-style fried chicken restaurant got its name  

For those unfamiliar with early to mid-1990s vernacular, the word “Juke” may not have much meaning. According to the dictionary definition, a “juke joint” is an establishment that has music, dancing, gambling and drinking, but this popular Vancouver joint also serves up some of the city’s best Southern-style fried chicken along with a slew of other delicious comfort food classics.  

The first Juke Fried Chicken location opened its doors in 2016 to plenty of buzz, and according to co-owner Justin Tisdall, one of the reasons they initially settled on the name “Juke” was to get people talking. 

“A friend said, ‘you can call it the Chicken Shack, but everyone will know what that is,” Tisdall explains. “Juke starts a conversation. What’s Juke?’”

“In keeping with the meaning of ‘Juke Joint: a small inexpensive establishment for eating, drinking, or dancing to the music of a jukebox or a live band,’ we wanted a small spot that felt lively and comfortable with great drinks and food,” Tisdall continues.

Tisdall says roughly 116 alternate naming possibilities were considered, but upon reading page 182 of Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog” biography–a page devoted to the logic behind short, one-syllable names–and realizing the original Juke address was situated at 182 Keefer Street, the choice became obvious. 

Juke Fried Chicken is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for dine-in, takeout, and delivery.