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Chicken Hut: The Tapp Family Serves More Than Chicken

Tre Tapp proudly continues his parents' legacy of serving the community.

The Chicken Hut owner Tre Tapp poses with a good friend and supporter. (photo taken pre-pandemic)

Created to determine a restaurant's quality, the "five-star system" considers many important factors including the quality of the meal, presentation, service, atmosphere, and value. The system, however, does not consider a factor that may need a sixth star — community.

Though the name has changed over the years, The Chicken Hut is the second oldest continually operating restaurant in Durham, having served the Durham community since 1957. Not only are they known for their delicious and hearty fried chicken and barbecue meals, but also as a community gathering space, and, during the pandemic, a place where kids can get a free meal if they're hungry.

The Chicken Hut owner Tre Tapp stands in front of his family business.

The Chicken Hut's story can be traced back to Claiborne Tapp Jr., a man who attended North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with plans to go to medical school. When Tapp took a biology class where he had to study chickens, everything changed. As he studied chickens and learned about the market, he formed a new plan that involved serving the community. Tapp married Peggy, and together they became the Tapp power couple who worked day and night with other families using their skills and resources to show up for the community.

Today, The Chicken Hut remains a family-run business run by Tre Tapp, alongside his cousin and aunts. Tre is committed to continuing the legacy of his late beloved parents.

"My parents will always be an inspiration to me because they both worked tirelessly to serve our community," said Tre.

For more than 20 years, The Chicken Hut has partnered with the Healthy Start Academy, North Carolina’s first tuition-free public charter school. When the pandemic hit, both teams joined forces to provide free meals to children who needed breakfast or lunch in the community. In the first weekend after the shutdown, The Chicken Hut gave away about 900 meals. Now, Tre estimates that the restaurant gives away about 500 meals a week."Knowing that a meal we serve may fill a child who may not be able to have a hot meal otherwise leaves me smiling, full, and satisfied," said Tre.

The Chicken Hut owner Tre Tapp serves supporters.

When asked what makes Durham beautiful, Tre replied, "Durham always pulls together in a time of need. We truly are Bull City strong, and we appreciate all our customers, who we like to call supporters."

In addition to their multiple stars for delicious food and service, The Chicken Hut also gets the one-of-a-kind community star for their kindness and generosity to the community over the years. You can become a supporter by trying their famous fried chicken, barbecue, oxtails, and more any Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at 3019 Fayetteville Street.

The Chicken Hut's famous fried chicken