The first Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters franchise this side of London has opened.
The restaurant at 1149 Confederation St. is owned by Doug and Corinne Loucks, who say it’s the 110th Mary Brown’s location and the only one in this region.
Doug Loucks, a former general manager of the Holiday Inn in Point Edward, was transferred to St. John’s Newfoundland in 2007 to manage a hotel.
As much as he and his family liked the east, Loucks said they were looking for a way to return to Ontario.
That led to a lunch with Mary Brown’s owner Greg Roberts.
“We agreed we’d open a new location and it could have been anywhere in Ontario, so we decided it should be Sarnia,” Loucks said.
“We really liked our lifestyle here. We have friends here and I was active in the community.”
At the same time, competitor Kentucky Fried Chicken closed three locations in Sarnia just as the Loucks were talking seriously about where to locate. One of the KFC franchises has since reopened.
“We wanted to come to Sarnia and the opportunity was there,” he said. The couple is already considering where the next Mary Brown’s location will be and plan to open two to four franchises in southwestern Ontario.
When pinpointing the first restaurant, they examined traffic patterns and chose the third busiest corridor in Sarnia. Confederation’s traffic count is only behind Exmouth Street and London Road.
The new store opened Oct. 29 with a drive thru and 31 full and part-time employees.
“We’ve been really happy with the response,” Loucks said. “Confederation is always busy.”
The menu features Mary Brown’s signature sandwich, a 4-ounce marinated chicken fillet, battered and fried on a bun with mayo and lettuce for $5.49. From Jan. 5 – March 15, the signature sandwich will be on special for $3.99.
Hand-cut tater orders vary from $2.89 to $7.99, depending on order size. Chicken dinners start at $6.99.
Loucks said the secret to Mary Brown’s quality is that whole chickens arrive at the restaurant and are cut and prepared on site.
Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters was started in 1969, after the franchise owner purchased the chicken recipe from a woman in the Carolina’s named Mary Brown.
The Sarnia restaurant is open seven days a week with dine-in, catering and take out available.
NEW BAKERY IN TOWN
Got a sweet tooth? You might want to check out Mitton Village’s newest bakery.
Maya’s Village Bakery at 109 Mitton St. South is owned by Arik Evers and named for his little girl.
It features muffins, cookies, crackers, buns, bread, deli sandwiches and soft pretzels.
Evers is connecting with numerous local businesses and restaurants to supply them regularly with his baked goods.
Some are reciprocating, like the Refined Fool Brewery downtown, which is donating its spent grains for some of the bakery’s fresh bread.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.