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Sticky’s Chicken: How these Houston siblings brought a father’s dream of owning a restaurant to reality

OG Sticky's Wings from Sticky's Chicken located in Houston, TX (Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.)

HOSUSTON – For more than 20 years, one recipe has been a family’s secret that has led to a dream come true. Known as “Sticky Sauce” this signature sauce helped launch a family-operated food truck called “Sticky’s Chicken.”

It began in the mid-1990s when the popularity of wing restaurants was on the rise. One evening, the Vivares family went to try some wings at a restaurant and that’s when the idea sparked.

“Oh I can do better,” said Ceferino Vivares, father of Patsy and Benson Vivares, now co-owners of Sticky’s Chicken.

After trial and error, dad came up with the signature sauce. It was an instant hit for the Vivareses. The sticky sauce was mainly used for family gatherings or parties. Through the years family and friends suggested that they do something with the wings.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind. I’m not a chef, nor is my brother” said Vivares.

Sticky's Chicken's Patsy, Ceferino and Benson Vivares (KPRC)

Years down the road, after leaving their jobs with the post office, the family took a risk and ventured into the food business industry. The Vivareses had no prior experience with food but knew it was something they wanted to take on.

“It’s always been one of his dreams to open up a restaurant and do something with food," said Patsy.

Born in the Philippines, Cefernio worked with the coconut plantations but left this industry and enlisted in the Army. Vivares always wanted to set up his own food stand. Little did he know his passion would encourage his family to create this successful business.

In 2014, they transformed a used FedEx truck into Sticky’s Chicken and created a menu around its signature sauce. It was an instant hit for Houston. It even made history becoming the first food truck offered with Uber Eats.

In January 2020, the family parked its truck and opened their first brick in the mortar at Sawyer Yards.

What’s in the Sticky Sauce?

That’s something they cannot share. However, Vivares said it’s similar to sweet garlic, orangey, barbecue flavor. The co-owners compare the sauce to Houston’s diverse community. It’s a mixture of different flavors including Asian cuisine and Texas barbecue.

“When our chef tried it for the first time, he was surprised,” said Vivares. “It’s not a simple flavor, but it’s still recognizable.”

The sauce has been a fan favorite for many years and has caught the attention of many Houston favorites, including rapper Bun B, football athlete DeAndre Hopkins and actress Karrueche Tran.

One of its sauces was even named after the celebrity. The co-owner says Tran often orders Sticky’s Chicken whenever she’s in town.

What to order

Wings for sure! Their signature wings are called the OG Sticky’s Wings, which includes its signature Sticky Sauce.

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5 piece for yo dime piece. 🍗

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Chicken over rice is its best-seller, which includes sautéed chicken over garlic fried rice topped with sticky’s sauce, aioli and green onion.

The restaurant features other menu items including Sticky’s Sticks, sliders, fries, nuggets, burgers and more.

The brother-sister duo is proud of their accomplishments and the support from the community. Co-owner Patsy is thrilled that this dream was able to become a reality.

“I always knew I would be at the top of the food chain of a company but never thought it would be mine,” said Vivares. "Being able to lift that dream for him, it’s amazing. He’s been such a great mentor. "

Sticky’s Chicken is located at 2313 Edwards Street at Sawyer Yards. They are open for to-go orders and have opened its dining room with limited capacity. For more information, you can visit its website here.