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Fried poultry may return
New Mary Brown's Famous Chicken and Taters proposed for Old Airport Road as long-time KFC franchise shuts its doors downtown

Karen K. Ho
Northern News Services
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mary Brown's Famous Chicken and Taters could be back in Yellowknife soon.

NNSL photo/graphic

Floor plan for a proposed location of restaurant chain Mary Brown's Famous Chicken and Taters on Old Airport Road. - photo courtesy of City of Yellowknife

A drive-through franchise of the fried chicken restaurant is being proposed for Old Airport Road on the same property as tire retailer Westown Tire.

"I'm going to put up the building and a guy's going to run it and rent it from there," owner Ken Pich told Yellowknifer.

Pich is hopeful that the project will go through, especially with the recently announced closure of KFC and all the planned commercial developments nearby.

"Everything is getting built over there, so I have to do a lot of blasting (for more parking space)," he said.

He wouldn't disclose who would be running the restaurant, only that they would be leasing the building from him.

Pich is still in the process of obtaining quotes for construction costs for the structure, which he estimated to be around 1,800 square feet.

The proposal for the restaurant at 555 Old Airport Road would include six parking stalls, including one disabled spot, an eating area for dine-in customers and washrooms.

Jeff Humble, the city's director of planning and development, spoke about the project at the Monday municipal services meeting.

While the project would fall under "conditionally permitted use" in the area zoned for commercial service, Humble said this kind of development is very typical for the street.

"I think we're hopeful that we'll see more of this kind of growth and development and redevelopment in the corridor," he said.

Addressing traffic concerns, Humble said his department has already projected growth and expansion.

"We haven't done a specific traffic study on this particular development but I don't think we think one is warranted," he said. "If council wants to make this a condition, recognize this will delay the permit."

Humble said the hope was to bring the project back to council on Aug. 26.

Coun. Dan Wong expressed his support for the project, citing the comments, likes and shares he received on Facebook the night and morning before the meeting.

Landowners who have concerns about the restaurant proposal are asked to contact city planner Milan Nguyen with their written comments by Aug. 24.

A Mary Brown franchise has been in the capital before. In June 2002, Seamus Henry had to close down his franchise, which was attached to a Dairy Queen, due to a territory-wide labour shortage.

During a previous interview with Yellowknifer, he said closing Mary Brown's was an attempt to solve his staffing issues, but the situation only became worse.

Six weeks later, the Dairy Queen was also closed and Henry said he lost $1 million in the process.

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