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How Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters Became a Canadian Institution

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In 1969, the Golden Skillet opened its doors in Newfoundland and Labrador. Three years later, after being rebranded Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken, (and then again, later, to Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters), the restaurant opened its first franchise in Ontario—and they haven’t stopped growing since.

Early this year, Mary Brown’s celebrated 50 years in business by launching a new location on Water Street in downtown St. John’s. The launch marks a lifetime of serving Canadians the best in quality fried chicken and fresh, Canadian potatoes.

100% Canadian Owned and Operated since 1969

Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters is a Canadian success story. It has built a loyal following from scratch. Their bone-in chicken is cut in-store, breaded, marinated and made to order every day. Mary’s Signature Chicken and Taters are all 100 per cent Canadian. In addition to sourcing local ingredients, Mary Brown’s has a history of being exclusively Canadian owned and operated. Today, CEO Greg Roberts still resides in Newfoundland, while COO and President Hadi Chahin work at the restaurant’s headquarters in Markham, Ontario.

With franchises popping up across central and western Canada, Mary Brown’s hopes to open more than 200 locations nation-wide by 2020, working their way out of the suburbs and into the urban centres.

Celebrating 50 Years of Fried Chicken & Taters

While the brand has big plans to go global in the next few years, Mary Brown’s maintains an intrinsic connection to its roots in Atlantic Canada.

In nearly every restaurant across Canada, you’ll find a mural of Jellybean Row, colourful houses on hilly terrain that represent a cultural and historical icon for the city of St. John’s. Back on the island, many people you speak with have worked at Mary Brown’s or know someone who has.

Earlier this year at its 50th-anniversary celebration, Mary Brown’s recognized employees who had been with the company for 25 years. Attendees included Ann Learning, a life-long fan of Mary Brown’s and winner of an online contest that enabled her to join in the festivities. Ann, who stood in line at the original Golden Skillet in Newfoundland, attended the celebrations with her son, marking his first time back to the island in over 22 years. A Newfoundland native, Ann moved to Alberta over 20 years ago and was thrilled when a Mary Brown’s opened just around the corner. Once it did, she made sure her sons both had jobs and fell head over heels with the Canadian franchise she knew and loved.

Recognized by Deloitte Canada as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for 2019, Mary Brown’s has always been renowned for taking incredible care of both their customers and employees.

The three-day celebration in St. John’s included excursions like whale watching, an AGM for franchisees and a traditional kitchen party. To mark the occasion in its hometown, Mary Brown’s also unveiled a fun mural paying tribute to the ocean culture of the city.

The wall was painted by local artists and has already started attracting newlyweds and tourists, eager for an Insta-worthy backdrop. If you look closely, you’ll also see a tribute to Mary Brown’s hidden within the art. The scuba diving chicken really takes the cake.

Don’t Mess with Big Mary®

While good food and exceptional service contribute greatly to the success of Mary Brown’s recent growth, it is the loyalty of its customers that has allowed the Atlantic Canada-grown chicken joint to spread its wings, one customer at a time.

For those who know and love Mary Brown’s, there’s only one original chicken sandwich, and that’s the Big Mary with its signature one lone pickle on top. True to its roots, Mary Brown’s continues to do things a little differently. Judging by the restaurant’s recent success and rapid expansion across Canada and beyond, they won’t be slowing down any time soon.

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