Hungry RoosterPublished 9:49am Wednesday, December 5, 2012
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
BOYKINS—Connie and Gene Whitehead recently opened The Hungry Rooster on North Main Street in Boykins.
Graduates of Southampton High School, the Whiteheads, both 59, are experienced in the business. Gene Whitehead learned to bake in the Army and fell in love with cooking. He also worked in food service for a prison after military duty. Following that, Gene Whitehead and a friend operated a restaurant in Emporia for 11 to 12 years.
The second restaurant the couple owned was The 671 in Newsoms.
“Gene asked me several years ago what I had learned from owning restaurants and my response was ‘that I never want to own another one,’” Connie Whitehead said. “The true answer is that I have learned to treat everyone the same. Do not play favorites and one customer is just as valuable as the next.”
The couple opened The Hungry Rooster after space became available next to her other business, Southern Belle Antiques.
“Let’s grab the brass ring one more time,” Connie Whitehead told her husband. “This must be the most fun we’ve ever had.”
Though she doesn’t recall exactly the restaurant name’s origin, Connie Whitehead said she did know that the word ‘rooster’ should be in it.
“Then it just came to me, she said. “Hungry Rooster.”
The restaurant is decorated with vintage items such as advertising signs and records from her shop.
“I want it to have a homey feel,” she said.
That philosophy extends to the food.
“Everything is very, very simple, but very good,” said Connie Whitehead.
In addition to hamburgers and hot dogs, specials include chicken and dumplings, grilled pork loin chops, Salisbury steak and barbecued chicken. Desserts are also available.
“Everything is made right here,” she said. “It’s so fabulous.”
Connie Whitehead has no hand in preparing any food.
“I cook nothing… I want people to come back,” she said.
Jackie Hall is the main cook. The restaurant has four more employees.
“Hiring her was like winning the jackpot, said Connie. “I could never pull this off without super employees; my Rooster girls rock.”
The business will soon include an area for private meetings and parties, and in-house catering.
The Hungry Rooster is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.