When fans of your signature chicken dishes include rapper Bun B and Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, you could be content to roll with what’s working and leave it at that. But that’s not how Patsy and Benson Vivares, the brother/sister duo at the helm of Sticky’s Chicken do things.
The new brick-and-mortar Sticky’s at Houston’s Sawyer Yards takes their popular food truck favorites and brings them indoors to a casual spot where their beloved Sticky’s Wings are still the star of the show, but there’s lots of other items to love on the menu. Both the Chicken Over Rice and Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) Over Rice are bold, flavor bombs.
The Vivares sibs opened their popular food truck in 2014, quickly developing a cult following. Hopkins was a surprising devotee, who discovered them early on with Uber Eats. At one point though, his love for the food truck was on the down low, Patsy Vivares tells PaperCity.
It appears Hopkins’ relationship with Sticky’s lasted longer than the girlfriend, because he later invited Patsy and Benson to set up at his Back to Football party in September 2019. They told him about the new restaurant, never thinking he would come by.
“I was in the back room on the phone and my brother came in and said I needed to get out front, right now. I walked out and there was DeAndre. It was hard not to fangirl, but he said, ‘I told you I would come.’”
There’s a reason why local celebs and people who just appreciate tasty food are hyped about Sticky’s, and it starts with the sauce. After years of eating wings at area chain restaurants, their father Ceferino Vivares knew there was room for improvement.
“My dad said, ‘I can do better than Buffalo Wild Wings.’ And he did,” Patsy Vivares says. The secret to his sauce is kitchen confidential, but Patsy says they use cornstarch in the fried chicken batter for the crunch, adding extra thickness.
“My dad says it needs to sound like a rock when you drop it in the fryer,” Patsy Vivares notes. The result is indeed a deliciously craggy coating that reveals juicy flavorful chicken on the inside.
The family recognizes that Sticky’s needs to expand beyond chicken, and they are introducing a hamburger on the menu as a way to keep evolving the vision. They have also expanded their team to include three partners, including Andy Nguyen, “the mashup king in the food industry” (Food Network) and co-owner of Afters Ice Cream in California, along with Chef Michael Pham (Shomi Noods, Hottie’s Fried Chicken) and Tuan Bui (a part owner in Nguyen’s popular Dough & Arrow).
The new restaurant is cozy, but bright, with big screen televisions on one wall. The menu features beer, wine and soft drinks. The space was built Joshua Wiseman of Construction Concepts and accommodates diners at the counter as well as larger tables. Either way, Patsy says, the idea is for guests to feel welcome and stay awhile.
“You know when you walk into your family’s home and they immediately want to feed you, because that’s how they say, I Love You? That’s what we want to do here,” Patsy Vivares says.
Don’t worry though. The Sticky’s food truck will still be making appearances at McIntyre’s in the Heights, as well as events and festivals.
And who knows? You could find yourself bonding with Bun B over that legendary Sticky’s sauce.
by, Heather Staible