A longtime West End joint known for its quirky combination of fried chicken and car washes is up for sale, as the owner of Winnipeg’s Chester Fried Chicken outlets looks to downsize.
Bunty’s, the fried chicken restaurant, car wash, laundromat and convenience store at the corner of Arlington Street and Ellice Avenue, is on the market for $1.3 million.
Sales took a hit during a three-year-long roadway-construction project, prompting Yonas Zewude to sell his property.
"As soon as we noticed that happen, we decided to downsize and focus on one location," said Zewude, who also owns Walia’s Chester Fried Chicken at 228 Isabel St.
Prompted by "poor — and worsening — road conditions," the City of Winnipeg undertook a series of multi-year roadway renewal projects at several locations along Ellice Avenue starting in 2017.
In 2017-18, construction crews worked on a western section of Ellice Avenue between Arlington and Erin streets. This year it was a stretch between Arlington and Maryland streets.
"The project team maintained contact with area stakeholders including the West End BIZ throughout construction and adjusted staging, parking and access plans from year to year to mitigate concerns raised by the business sector," city spokesman Ken Allen said in a statement.
Although the construction is now complete, Zewude still plans to sell his 7,700-square-foot building. It’s been on the market for about four months.
The business owner said he wants to shutter Bunty’s Chester Fried Chicken to focus on his second location in the city’s Centennial neighbourhood. The latter also houses a fast-food restaurant, car wash, laundromat and convenience store.
Zewude said the business is soon going to be rolling out citywide delivery due to high demand for their comfort-food menu of chicken, pizza, wings, potato wedges, perogies and kebabs.
On a recent weekday evening, West End resident Linda Maytawashing was snacking on fried chicken while she waited for her laundry to finish its cycle at Bunty’s.
"This is the best chicken. I’m not kidding," she said between bites.
Both the signature chicken and convenience factor of being able to do all her errands in one place have made her a regular customer who stops by the storefront at least once every week.
"I can enjoy doing my snack, eating, while my clothes are washing," she said.
Zewude said he often hears about how the four-in-one model allows customers to do all their errands at once and keeps them coming back.
"No. 1, they love the chicken. No. 2, they like to have everything in one place," he said. "Plus, they do get customer service. We all believe your customers (are) paying our bills, so we treat them very well, as they deserve it."
If Bunty’s moves, Maytawashing said her walk to the nearest coin-operated laundry outlet will be much longer and the community will suffer a real loss without what she says is the best fried chicken she’s ever had.
Maggie is a cub reporter who covers every beat in the newsroom. She appreciates alliteration, when newspaper ink stains her fingertips and, more importantly, tips on social and environmental equity issues.
Updated on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 4:18 PM CST: Adds photo