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Delana Smith

Chester's manager Delana Smith serves a customer during the Baraboo restaurant's opening day Wednesday.

Baraboo south-siders eager to see fast food return to the neighborhood will be pleased to learn not one, but three restaurants will open this week at Parkway and South Boulevard.

Chester’s chicken opened Wednesday at the former home of the short-lived Mexican eatery Quezadillas. The Chester’s franchise is owned by Nick and Kaur Singh, who own the Get-N-Go convenience store that anchors the building.

“This side of town needed something,” said Chester’s manager Delana Smith. “People are happy that there’s a restaurant back here.”

By the end of next week, there will be three. Half the kitchen will be dedicated to chicken, but the other half will be shared by Sub Express and Pizza Primo. The sandwich and pizza operations will share an oven and toppings. “It’s a package deal,” Smith said. “I think it’s going to be an interesting combination — an entire family can be happy.”

On Wednesday, the staff had its hands full serving fried chicken and home-style sides during a soft opening that followed just two days of training. “We just wanted to get our feet underneath us,” Smith said. “We have a really good staff back there.”

The trio of restaurants will serve workers at nearby factories, Devil’s Lake State Park visitors and Campbell Park pool patrons. They offer takeout service at a pickup window, with orders accepted in advance by phone.

Chester’s is an Alabama-based chain dating back to the 1950s. Double-breading its chicken and using ventless fryers allows Chester’s to give its food a distinctive taste. Betty Rolling, a Chester’s operations support specialist in Baraboo to train the staff, said using fresh marinated chicken — rather than a frozen product — delivers succulent entrees. “Everything we have is fresh,” she said.

She’s a former convenience store owner who learned firsthand how partnering with Chester’s can boost profits. Chester’s locates its restaurants at convenience stores, stadiums, college cafeterias and truck stops. “It just grows your business like crazy,” Rolling said.

This week, Baraboo’s newest restaurant is serving fried chicken with sides such as fried corn, coleslaw, potato wedges and macaroni and cheese. Next week, it’ll add hot and cold subs, plus pizza by the slice or the full pie. If demand warrants, the restaurants may start serving breakfast.

“Word is getting around,” Smith said.

Follow Ben Bromley on Twitter @ben_bromley or contact him at 356-4808 x237.

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