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Harold's Chicken

WATERLOO — A heavily hyped Harold’s Chicken franchise has flown the coop.

But a new Mexican restaurant is preparing to move into the now vacant storefront at 403 Franklin St.

Los Reyes, a taco food truck frequently serving at the “six corners” intersection of West Fourth Street and Kimball Avenue, will be opening a fixed store Oct. 1, said Rodney Anderson, who owns the building.

Anderson had been searching for a new tenant since Harold’s Chicken closed in June after just more than a year in business.

“They just didn’t work out,” Anderson said.

Harold’s Chicken Iowa and its owner Gerald Seals did not return calls and emails for comment about the Waterloo store closing. Seals still operates Harold’s Chicken restaurants in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Court records show Seals and Harold’s Chicken Iowa were sued in Johnson County District court in June 2017 by an investor, Lega Fominyen, who claimed Seals used some of the $40,000 she loaned for the restaurant business on personal expenses.

A settlement reached in October 2017 required Seals to repay $27,560 to Fominyen over time. She later seized funds when those payments were not made.

Harold’s Chicken, a popular Chicago-area restaurant known for its secret fried chicken recipe, received a lot of fanfare when it opened to long lines of customers in April 2017.

The Waterloo City Council provided property tax rebates to leverage the project and Mayor Quentin Hart touted the economic boost it provided to revitalization efforts in the Walnut Neighborhood near downtown.

The tax rebates remain in place because they were based on the additional taxes the property would pay through renovation value added by the restaurant.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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