Fil-Am Bay Area entrepreneurs turn up the heat with hot chicken concept

Love Burn’s hot chicken sandwich features a half-pound fried chicken thigh with a customized spice level from a Level 0 to Level 4, served in between a potato bun. | Photo courtesy of Love Burn

THIS Valentine’s Day weekend, a South San Francisco pop-up by Filipino American serial entrepreneurs is daring couples to add some spice to their date night — with a hot chicken challenge.

Love Burn, a play on the Nashville hot chicken craze, is hosting the “Truth of Burn” challenge for couples to video themselves as they answer uncomfortable questions and bite into a signature hot chicken sandwich.

Squeezed in between a potato bun is a half-pound crispy fried chicken thigh with a customized scale of spiciness ranging from a Level 0 (A Little Space) to a Level 4 (Hot! Hot! Hot!).


“There’s this viral challenge on YouTube, where it’s ‘truth or shot’ and it’s couples asking each other some really low risk and high-risk questions with high risk meaning you’d might not want to answer it,” Justin Isip, Love Burn co-founder, told the Asian Journal. “We’ve replaced the shot of alcohol with a bite of our level four sandwich or whatever level you and your partner would like to play with.”

Love Burn co-owners Justin Isip and Jason Angeles | Photo courtesy of Love Burn

The pop-up opened in November inside Hometown Bowl along El Camino Real, adding to the burgeoning crispy chicken sandwich trend that is delivering a kick to taste buds in the region and across the country.

Starting a venture amid the pandemic, however, wasn’t a hurdle for Isip and co-owner Jason Angeles, who has several food businesses under his belt, including SSF Chickenbox, Frozen Kushterd, and Sugar and Spun. (Along with Love Burn partners Christian Perez, Dexter Lee, and Ronnie Taylor, these Fil-Ams have also kept themselves occupied since last spring with the #FilipinosFeedtheFrontlines program that delivers hot meals to seniors and medical frontliners in the Bay.)

“Hot chicken has been a high trend even before COVID,” Angeles said. “But what we saw with doing fried chicken with SSF Chickenbox is that we do it pretty well and we thought, ‘How could we apply this to a different type of fried chicken business?’”

Coupled with the generous chicken portion, Love Box has its own blend of global spices that arguably make it “an unmatched spice in the Bay Area,” Isip said.

For dessert, customers can order a churro five-pack served with hot honey and a choice of cinnamon or spicy chocolate sugar. | Photo courtesy of Love Burn

Reviewers on Yelp would agree with comments about Love Burn being “every heat seeker’s wet dream” and “one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the area.”

In addition to the sandwich, the slim menu also features sides like coleslaw and seasoned French fries, and a churro five-pack served with hot honey and a choice of cinnamon or spicy chocolate sugar.

Hometown Bowl is closed for indoor entertainment and dining, but for now, Love Burn is available for take-out and delivery on third-party delivery apps. The co-owners are also planning to launch a burger and fries concept later this year.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to open a business during a pandemic. That in itself is an accomplishment,” Isip said.

Christina M. Oriel
Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is the Managing Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach her at christina@asianjournalinc.com.

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