THE Big Red Hen is back. Same signature marinated chicken, same chips and gravy, same chicken croquettes. The only difference? The owners.
“We’re not changing a thing! Everything will be exactly the same,” said Michael Zammit (32), who along with wife Teresa Zammit (21) have purchased the lease on one of the Hawkesbury’s favourite takeaway shops.
“We are just going to keep it the same way to make our regular customers feel like it’s home again.”
The Big Red Hen - located at 199 Windsor Street in Richmond, across from the park - is celebrating its grand re-opening after five months of closed doors.
Previous owners, sisters Angela Ginis and Helen Waller, closed the business in February after they failed to find a buyer. Their family had owned the business for 25 years, and it had been trading for 35 years.
The Big Red Hen’s Facebook followers were livid, and Ms Ginis told the Gazette at the time: “People are devastated. The business has taken on its own entity - it’s like somebody’s died.”
The shop was packed when the Gazette visited on the day of reopening (Wednesday, July 12), and according to Mr Zammit, 95 per cent of the customers were old regulars.
Previous owners Ms Ginis and Ms Waller (who still own the building) are helping-out for the next fortnight, to show Mr and Mrs Zammit the ropes.
Though the new owners hail from Penrith, they plan to move out this way as soon as they find something suitable.
Mr Zammit’s background is in mobile forklift mechanics, and Mrs Zammit is a fully-trained barista, and the duo met while they were both working at Flemington Markets.
“I got told Teresa makes the best coffee. So I found her and I got a hot chocolate and a chilli tuna sandwich and bang! Next thing we’re married,” said Mr Zammit.
“Her dream was to buy a shop and my dream when I was young was to own a chicken shop.”
Mr Zammit was familiar with The Big Red Hen, and used to pick up a quarter-chicken and chips when he travelled to Richmond for work. His uncle, Abraham Zammit - also a fan of The Big Red Hen’s food - owns Hawkesbury Optical right next door to the chicken shop.
“When I used to visit I could barely get in - the line was always so long, it was a joke!” said Mr Zammit.
“My uncle said: ‘We’re right next door and we see what they do. You’re not making a bad decision [buying the business] - you’re making a smart decision.’”
Follow The Big Red Hen on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thebigredhen.