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Ken and his food are back!



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Top: (L-R) Makayla, Renee, Marija and Samantha. Bottom: (L-R) Sonia and Alexis. (click for larger version)
August 10, 2011 - It's out with the old and in with the newly old at Ken's Coney Island.

Former owner Ken Gjohla, is back from a three-year absence from his Coney Island, located at 212 S. Washington St. in the Oxford Marketplace shopping center, and he is bringing the familiar tastes and flavors that made Ken's a success in his first 10 years.

"So we are back and we have been open for the past two or three months," Gjohla said.

His wife Maria will also be coming back later this year.

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After selling Ken's in 2008, Gjohla is glad to be back in Oxford.

"At first I was a little leery at how it was going to be, but it is good to see all the people again and it seems like they are happy to see us," he said.

Gjohla pointed out he would have former regulars stop in to see if the sign stating the original owners of Ken's Coney Island were back was true.

"They would come in, see us, sit down and order our food," he added. "We had quite a bit of that."

The biggest challenge for Gjohla was trying to get the regular customers to come back.

After taking the keys from the former owners, Gjohla shut Ken's down for a month-and-a-half "just to clean-up, paint and get everything back in working order."

"I put a sign in the window saying we're closed and look for us to open again," he said.

During that time, he hired all new staff.

"You are going to have better service...better food, larger portions, all the things we did back when my wife was running the place," he said. "That is how we are running the place today."

An immediate difference customers will notice is the food, according to Gjohla. In addition to expanding the menu, they went back to the products that worked best.

"We added some new items to the menu, but we switched everything back to the way we had it," he said. "The thing that those guys had done was come in and switch products."

"People are not dumb; if they are used to eating something everyday and you change it up...from a high quality product to something less than that, people are going to taste a difference," he said.

Along with bringing back the same food that customers grew to love over the years, he is adding some new items to the specials for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His regular menu will include seafood, sandwiches, entrees and lots of options for breakfast, including omelettes and skillets.

They also have a few different takes on the classic burger. One is called "Ken's Special," which is comprised of bar-be-que sauce, bacon, cheddar, provolone and onion rings.

"It's a very good burger," he said.

Gjohla said he was adamant about not sacrificing the quality of his food just so he could save a few dollars when purchasing food.

"If we are going to do something, we are going to do it as best as possible," he said. "You might find some thing cheaper at other restaurants, but I assure you they are not using the quality we are."

"The prices on stuff has skyrocketed across the board, but we haven't increased our prices...we have kept the consumer in mind," he said.

"Our main focus is the customer, period," he added. "It's the same in any business, if the customer is unhappy, you are not going to see him again. He might not say anything, but you can bet you won't see him again."

"We make sure the customer is going to leave happy," Gjohla said.

Ken's Coney Island is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about Ken's Coney, call (248) 969-3665.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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