Big Chief owners want its future to be a blast from its past

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By Donna Thornton/News Editor

Jeff and Regina Word took the reins at the Big Chief in Glencoe not too long ago, and their plans for the eatery’s future include taking the local landmark back to its past.

The Big Chief was the hang-out for young people in Glencoe for decades, Word said, and he’d be happy to see it serve as a  gathering place again.

“I can’t tell you how many people have told me ‘I met my wife at the Big Chief,’ or their husband,” Word said.

The Words gathered with friends and customers recently for a “re-grand opening” celebration that, for one hour, rolled prices back to 1963 rates, in celebration of when the Big Chief originally opened.

Word said that meant four burgers for $1, four shakes for $1 and 4 orders of fries for $1 – feeding a family of four for $3.

The Big Chief was one of three similarly designed burger stands opened in the Gadsden area by Tim and Jack Alford.

The Pik-A-Burger and Jack’s Kwikee are long gone, but the Big Chief remains.

And although they called the celebration on Nov. 16 a reopening, the restaurant never really closed.

Word said his purchase of the restaurant came about after an off-hand remark to friends, Joe and Shelly Zahorscak, who owned the Big Chief for the last 13 years. Word said he’s worked in the restaurant business before, and commented that he’d like to get back to it.

Some time later, Shelly Zahorscak called him and asked if he was serious. He said his initial response was “Serious about what?” having forgotten his comment.

More discussion ensued, and the Words became the new owners of the Big Chief, just in time to mark its 50th anniversary.

Word said it’s been a blessing the way their ownership of the Big Chief came to be, and he’s excited to have everyone come by and check out their menu.

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