SOUTHINGTON – Hen House BBQ is under new ownership, but customers still see the proprietor of more than 30 years when they come in for wings or ribs.
Ron Amorando recently sold the landmark eatery to Andy Ni, who previously ran a hibachi restaurant in West Hartford. Amorando said he’s helping Ni with the transition and isn’t sure how long he’ll stay on.
“You do anything 31 years and you’re ready,” he said. “I’m just trying to help (Ni) get going.”
April will mark 31 years since Amorando first started Hen House BBQ. He was working at a restaurant in Bridgeport, Drumsticks, and wanted to open his own place far away from his employer so as not to cut in on business.
He chose the Southington location in a Main Street plaza after his father happened to drive by a “for rent” sign.
“My dad happened to get off the exit on Queen Street and see the for rent sign,” Amorando said. “I went, ‘Southington, where’s that?’”
On Wednesday, Ni said he has no intentions of changing anything with the recipe or menu. The same people will remain working there. Hen House offers take-out, dine-in and catering.
Cliff Shannon, a local resident, came in for chicken wings on Wednesday before work and said he’s often at Hen House, which is close to his home.
“It saves me the trip to Drumsticks” in Bridgeport, the only other restaurant that can offer fried chicken of comparable quality, according to Shannon.
He was surprised to learn that Amorando was no longer the owner, but glad that other aspects of the restaurant would remain the same.
Hen House is in a plaza with Dollar Tree and other restaurants. Condos and apartments are planned directly behind the plaza, which was bought by local developer Mark Lovley and partner Anthony Valenti in 2017.
Amorando is proud of Hen House BBQ’s reputation. He said the restaurant’s chicken was voted best in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine in 2017.
“Even though it’s a small little place, that’s impressive,” Amorando said.
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