hen house

Vicki Barcue, a cook at Hen House Family Restaurant in Mahomet, cuts up ham for dishes as assistant manager Jessica Crowe cleans the deep fryer in preparation for today’s reopening. The restaurant had been closed since Nov. 13 as a result of coronavirus mitigation restrictions.

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MAHOMET — Omelets, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, French toast, bacon, hash browns ... come and get ’em.

For the first time in more than two months, Mahomet’s Hen House Family Restaurant was set to open again for business at 6 a.m. today.

What have regulars at this restaurant at Eastwood Drive and Illinois 47 been missing the most?

“Definitely our breakfasts,” said longtime general manager James Hudson. “We’re well known for our breakfasts.”

But if you’re hankering for a burger and fries first thing in the morning, they serve that, too, he said.

“We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long,” Hudson said.

Hudson said Hen House has been closed since Nov. 13 and has complied with state and local COVID-19 mitigation restrictions.

Hen House tried serving carry- out for two weeks before that, Huudson said, but the business wasn’t there, “and it just wasn’t paying the labor,” he said.

In the past couple of days, since employee cars have been parked out in the lot and delivery trucks have been arriving, customers have noticed — and they’ve been calling, Hudson said.

“They know something is going on,” Hudson said.

From the amount of calls the restaurant has gotten, he predicts today will be busy.

In addition to restocking supplies and getting equipment ready to roll Wednesday, a big pot of vegetable beef soup was cooking, and other food prep was going on.

“We’ve been doing it all, slicing and dicing and cutting ham, the whole nine yards,” Hudson said.

Returning customers will find most of the same longtime employees back on the job, he said. About 90 percent have been available to come back to work.

Many worked temp jobs through the holiday season, Hudson said.

“A lot of the customers know most of my servers by name. Even my cooks are very well known,” he said.

Hudson also has had a long career — 31 years in all — with Hen House. He started at the former location in Farmer City, then transferred to Mahomet.

To start out, Hen House will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Hudson said he hopes to be able to stay open until 9 p.m. seven days a week in the near future.

Customers returning to dine indoors will still be required to wear masks, he said.

Indoor dining with limited capacity was back on the table Monday for Region 6, which includes Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Piatt and Vermilion counties.

The state moved the region from Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation rules to the less restrictive Tier 1.

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