The sign in front of Candy’s Chicken became an unfortunate running joke for the North Kildonan institution.
The restaurant is in its third incarnation on Henderson Highway, now settled in at 2231 Henderson after opening March 6, but the move took seven months— much longer than owner Kim Boyce had anticipated.
"We had a sign up, ‘Opening Soon,’" said Boyce. "Seven months isn’t really soon. We had no idea we’d be longer than three months.
"’What’s your definition of soon? It’s a little longer than ours.’" Boyce recalled customers saying, as he left the doors unlocked during the move to allow them to come in and visit.
The sign now reads "Yahoo we are open."
Boyce bought the business in 1996 when it was located at 1215 Henderson Hwy., and moved into the Boardwalk Shopping Centre just slightly to the north in 1997 to receive better street exposure.
As the centre built up, making the restaurant less visible from Henderson, and rent became more expensive, Boyce decided a change was in order, and he was looking at a different location.
He recalled taking a motorcycle ride to Lockport shortly after deciding to move out of the Boardwalk Shopping Centre, and noticed the space his business currently calls home had opened up. Boyce quickly made a deal with the owner.
Boyce said a major part of the delay in opening involved completing the inspection process, which he called "the new normal" for business. Part of the process involved getting CSA approval for his old machines, including his cookers, which he said were irreplaceable.
"I’ve used conventional cookers, and while it’s a good product because everything’s the same – the chicken’s the same, the breading recipe is the same, the oil is the same, the cook times are the same – it just cooks differently," he said. "It was imperative that we had our cookers approved."
He said response has been encouraging since finally reopening the doors.
"We have been overwhelmingly busy since Day 1," he said. "We ran out of chicken the first Sunday (March 10) because we were busier than we thought."
The restaurant increased its chicken order, but didn’t receive the extra meat, and ran out once again on March 17.
"Two Sundays in a row, we opened late and closed early, and had to put that embarrassing sign on the door – ‘Sorry, we’re out of chicken’," he said. "Our customers have been amazing.
"I said (to a customer) ‘I hope we’re going to be OK’. This guy said ‘We’re going to make sure you’re OK’."