Maher Abbas' Super Chicken
Maher Abbas came from Iraq and chose Concord as his home. He’s proud of his family, proud of his adopted country and proud of his new restaurant. At Abbas’ WOW Fried Chicken & Subs, the chicken is both crispy and tender, and there are many other taste sensations to sample. He also owns Chi Cha, a popular hookah bar around the corner. Fortunately, WOW stays open late (and delivers) to ensure that no one goes home hungry.
Maher Abbas and a feathery friend at WOW Fried ChickenPhoto by David Mendelsohn
In his own words:
- In Baghdad, I was a businessman. I had a restaurant and a huge warehouse.
- I came to America because of what was happening to my country. I was there for Saddam Hussein. I was there for his sons, Uday and Qusay, too. Everyone was very afraid of their actions.
- I was there for both wars. I haven’t been back. I want to see my family, but it is not safe there.
- When I was in Iraq, I always thought that America was a country of freedom. Everyone here still has freedom.
- I love the American culture because it’s a mix of everything, and the people are kind and successful, especially the people of New England.
- I met my partner Ahmed Ibraheem in the US. He too lived in Baghdad. He was a doctor and also had many businesses. We work together very well.
- It was a good feeling to start WOW Chicken. I have a dream and a hope to expand and franchise someday.
- A year after entering the US, I tried Maine lobster. I thought it would not be so good, but it turned out to be amazing!
- I came up with the name, WOW, because it was unique and different.
- Fried chicken is not a popular thing in Iraq.
- It is very American.
- Colonel Sanders was smart, but he’s dead now. I used to love his chicken, but now mine is much better.
- I have no secret ingredients. It’s all public.
- Besides our delicious chicken, we have Middle Eastern dishes, so people who come can try something new like hummus, stuffed grape leaves and shawarma. We also have lots of subs and burgers.
- Everyone is happy at WOW Chicken.
- I think the chicken came first. No, the egg. Maybe the same time. Let me think about it.
TAKEOUT OR OUTTAKE? Fortunately for the chicken, it’s the latter. Along with a variety of costumes and props needed for this photograph, a real live chicken was on hand, but she didn’t make the final cut. Pictured here with Abbas is “Hen Solo,” a member of a small brood of Concord neighborhood chickens who apparently happen to be big Star Wars fans. Others from the same coop sported names like Princess Layer, Queen Omeletdala and Chewbawk-ba-kah.
Thanks to Mary Selvoski of Mary’s Closet in Manchester for her kindness, the chicken suit and for most of Abbas’ wardrobe; Ahmed Ibraheem for his ability to shop for red pants at the last minute; and Nermina “Norman” Kovacevic for her untroubled loss of dignity while street dancing in a chicken suit.