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It’s Now Possible to Skip the Incredibly Long Howlin’ Ray’s Line, for a Price [Update]

Instagram hustle promises all the hot chicken without the pesky wait

Howlin rays sandwich on paper
Howlin’ Ray’s
Jakob Layman
Cathy Chaplin is a senior editor at Eater LA, a James Beard Award–nominated journalist, and the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles.

For those with an appetite for crispy-fried hot chicken but not the patience to endure a long wait at Howlin’ Ray’s, meet @TheHowlinWaiter. Chinatown’s outrageously popular hot chicken purveyor has galvanized an anonymous and entrepreneurial someone to set up an Instagram account to solicit business as a line-waiter. With waits averaging an hour-and-a-half on weekdays, three hours on weekends, and up to five hours during holidays, there’s certainly a market for this time-saving business. It just costs a fee.

Austin’s Franklin Barbecue inspired a similar venture years ago, but eventually banned all line holders with Aaron and Stacy Franklin stating, “We owe it to the rest of our faithful customers to not allow the distraction. We prefer to serve our customers in house, and not to have a second party representing our food and brand.” While Howlin’ Ray’s chef/owner Johnny Ray Zone is aware of the illicit venture, there are no immediate plans to ban this practice.

Howlin’ Rays has been a runaway hit since it opened for business in the Far East Plaza in 2016. Menu standbys, as well as an insiders-only secret menu, have kept diners on their toes and hankering for more.

Update, 01/28/18: The team at Howlin’ Rays addressed @TheHowlinWaiter over Twitter declaring the hustle, “suuuuuuppppper not allowed.” The Instagram account has since gone offline.