Chicken Joe's shows NCHS team spirit
Updated 11:23 am, Saturday, October 1, 2011
Ever been in line at Chicken Joe's waiting to order the High School Special and glance at the wall behind you? Instead of the bland taupe-colored surfaces found at many restaurants, Chicken Joe's offers a timeline of New Canaan High School sports history.
"That was actually my idea to do that," said New Canaan resident, Jay Greco, a part owner of Chicken Joe's . "I really wanted it to have a theme of New Canaan and give it a community feel. We love this community and just wanted it to be present in the store itself."
Greco, along with partner Joe Marini opened Chicken Joe's in New Canaan in June 2010 in an attempt to bring something different and more affordable to town. A large part of the reasoning for opening in New Canaan was the younger clientele the eatery attracts.
"I have a son who is in the high school. And I knew all the kids were driving down to Garden Catering (where Greco used to be a partner) in Stamford so I thought why have the kids travel?" Greco said. "It is about the kids and their community."
Greco said approximately 65 percent of all his customers are kids who love the High School Special, a combo of chicken nuggets and fries mixed with some special seasoning and priced at $6.
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"So since a lot our business is kids, we wanted the theme inside the restaurant to be all about New Canaan High School and the sports to show this is what we are all about," Greco said. "I think a lot of people really love the wall."
The wall is full of pictures from different decades showing New Canaan High School basketball, track, football and other athletics through the years.
"It is a nice big wallpaper pretty much," Greco said. "I basically went to the high school and picked up year books from the '70s, '80s, '90s and the 2000s. I went through each of them, picked out some notable pictures, scanned them and brought them to EK Designs to get some wallpaper made."
It was something Greco was really passionate about and wanted to do more of, but the space of his restaurant did not keep up with his imagination.
"If the store was bigger I definitely would have gotten more pictures scanned and made into wallpaper," Greco said. "Not only does it look great but I think a lot of people in town love it."
Greco said he has seen many people come in and tell him about people they recognize on the wall from years ago.
"You have no idea how many people are told about that wall. People come in from far away just to find themselves or people they know on the wall. I mean, many of these people have moved away and come back to see themselves on our wall. It is really great," Greco said. "I had a guy down from Massachussets the other day who had graduated New Canaan High School in '81 who was on the track team and sure enough he found himself up on our wall."
Greco says the community interaction and school spirit is what he loves about New Canaan.
"I grew up in Greenwich but have lived in New Canaan for the past 10 years," he said. "This is where I wanted to raise my kids and I couldn't be prouder of having a Chicken Joe's here in New Canaan that connects us to the community even more."