Chicken on the Roof Grill Takes Down Giant Chicken

Harford County ordered the business on Magnolia Road to remove its signature chicken.

The chicken was gone in this Jan. 6, 2013, picture on the business' Facebook page. (Credit: Chicken on the Roof/Facebook)
The chicken was gone in this Jan. 6, 2013, picture on the business' Facebook page. (Credit: Chicken on the Roof/Facebook)
Months after someone filed an anonymous complaint about its inflatable chicken, the Chicken on the Roof Grill has put its chicken into hibernation.

The Joppa restaurant posted a picture of its business sans the large vinyl chicken that usually sits on the roof on its Facebook page on Jan. 6.

The following day, someone asked on the page: "Are you still in business?" because the chicken was gone.

"The Chicken is still in business," replied the restaurant. "The chicken itself is cold, but should be back soon."

An anonymous complaint filed with Harford County last year triggered a citation from the zoning department mandating the removal of the chicken and temporary signage, Patty Janowiak, who owns the business with her husband Paul, told Patch.

"We take it down, and we have no business," Janowiak said of the chicken.

She said that because the restaurant on Magnolia Road is not clearly visible from all points at the nearby US Route 40 intersection, the Janowiaks put up temporary signs along the road promoting "chicken" and "pit beef" to get drivers to turn. Those signs were also included in the citation.

Filing to keep the chicken and temporary signs would incur legal and engineering fees; and at the end of the day, the county could deny the request, Janowiak said. In the meantime, the county ordered the removal of the signs and the chicken.

The appeal process could cost between $10,000 and $15,000, Paul Janowiak told The Aegisstating: "It's almost like a scam....Everybody gets rich off you trying to put a sign up on your property."

The chicken was present on the roof when the Janowiaks purchased the business in 2012 and opened in 2013.

Related: County Orders Chicken on the Roof Grill to Remove Chicken
Jeff January 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Really? Somebody is to "chicken" to go to the county to complain they have to do it anonymously? This is the problem with this county and the state, a small business owner having to waste time and money to advertise there company. Disgraceful.....
Karen boemmel January 11, 2014 at 07:36 AM
Jeff I agree. If your going to complain at least have the guts to say it was you. My family has loved looking for the chicken when driving by and I hope he gets to return to the top of his coop soon!
ntlc13 January 11, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Small business fail because of idiots who complain about a icon. Without the chicken no one knows if the place is still in business. If the person had a problem with a inflatable or a sign. Look me in the eye and tell me you want it removed or suggest a compromise but to hide behind "anonymous" is a joke. We should know who is are excuser.
Clarice Neukam January 11, 2014 at 08:24 AM
I've seen this chicken over the years and have always thought it was neat and a great way to promote the business. I say let them put it back up and LEAVE then alone.
g37hotshot January 11, 2014 at 09:22 AM
So what did "anonymous" hope to gain from complaining about something so trivial?
Rob Farmer January 11, 2014 at 09:58 AM
It's the Maryland way. They make it as hard for small businesses to survive as they can. Get as many fees, taxes,permits and fines as they can. Too bad if they fail. Another business will take its place. And the cycle begins again.
Jeremy Woodworth January 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM
the person who complained deserves to be sieg heiled everyday out of mockery!
Bryan January 11, 2014 at 10:40 AM
Sounds like the work of a jealous competitor
Patrick Carter January 11, 2014 at 11:26 AM
The government should grow some balls and support an honest businessman, who are in fact paying their salaries.
bcsaverino January 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM
How ridiculous. I'm sure it's some person who thinks this "icon chicken" gives the county a bad name or something silly like that. Leave these small business people alone. Pretty soon all you will have in the county will be fast food like McDonalds, Burger Kung etc... Now do the right thing. Come forward admit you are being silly and help get this poor business owners his chicken back where it belongs. Thank you.
Bobby Bryant January 11, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Cowardly and childish act by someone who needs to get a life.
Just Wondering January 11, 2014 at 02:37 PM
All it takes is one business along the RT 40 corridor to get fined for improper signage and then that business goes and reports others, since that's the only way the county deals with it as complaint only. I have worked at several businesses along RT 40 and we have had the pleasure of being reported for signs and luckily we knew the inspector and he told us what happens we just got reported cause some other business got reported and they go around and report others its sad. The county needs to redo the requirements and make it a requirement to get approval first.
Clarice Neukam January 11, 2014 at 05:03 PM
>>>CONCERNED, I realize this as I have had 2 business in Harford County. However, the County could be small business friendly and explain the rules and regulations and give them 30 days to apply if at that time the matter wasn't resolved then required them to remove what is against County Laws. I'm certain there are many perhaps illegal signs throughout the County. I find it difficult that the officials aren't aware of more. Do they find it necessary for a complaint to be called in then act like the sign police and threatening? This particular chicken on the roof of this building has been there for as long as I can remember and I've been in the County a very long time.
Shannon Travers January 12, 2014 at 02:45 PM
First- why would the sale of this business go on if in fact the signage and chicken were in violation of county codes? Second- why would the county act on an anonymous complaint? Third- if the county is acting on this issue die to an anonymous complaint then they better star enforcing the issue of all the real estate, political, and any other signs that are posted illegally. There you don't need a complaint because the violator is usually named on the sign. Fourth-and I'll stop here, but there is much more, either politically or financially involved with this story than we are being told. For the county to flex its muscle on an anonymous complaint like this one, I would suspect that some developer with very deep pockets wants that property. It's a Ill scratch your back if you scratch mine, situation. Unfortunately money talks and the little guys gets swallowed up. This county belongs to is citizens, just as the state does. The citizens need to pay attention to what the well oiled government machine is doing. Before long, with no citizen revolt, we will be exactly like the "masses" in the "Apple 1984" commercial.
Zoe Ann Messick Small January 13, 2014 at 01:30 AM
Why is the chicken different from the huge gorillas, huge jeeps and tall men that whip back and forth to get your attention? The chicken wasn't blocking anything or hurting anyone. That business is the first to last any amount of time, in that location. Food is really good. And now it's back to being hard to see. Having a business successful seems to be more important to the area than nit picking about a chicken. From one anonymous complaint? Somebody has too much power or time on their hands. Stop badgering and let them put their " sign" back up. We would like businesses to do well in the area.
Tag-Along January 13, 2014 at 04:31 PM
The amount of roadside signs this business has/had were astronomical at times! They actually created blind spots with the amount they had! They seemed to have eased up over the past couple months. Now, I have no issues with the chicken on the roof because it was their way of advertising and getting noticed without impeding drivers view of traffic.
Jeff January 14, 2014 at 03:46 PM
It's nice to see people agreeing, the only problem is nobody will do anything! I wish I knew who to contact in the county so I could let them know to get a life!
Maria January 15, 2014 at 02:49 PM
A big chicken...how poetic... Kids love this kind of stuff...leave the chicken alone...LOLOL
Nancy Cornnell January 19, 2014 at 08:25 PM
I want to know what the payoff was to force this business to remove the chicken. "Anonymous" has this much power? No it has a lot of cash. Isn't it sad how corrupt our politicians are?
Robert Einsig January 22, 2014 at 01:09 PM
The idiots that work in the zoning dept need to get a life and go after the bigger businesses that are breaking all these zoning laws.
Jay January 23, 2014 at 09:35 PM
I hope the owners will start a petition to have the chicken back up on the roof. I know I will sign it, and until then, I'm going give them some support, and enjoy the good food they provide as much as I can.
rob hanks January 29, 2014 at 01:22 PM
more money-hungry government B.S.!
Bob Ward February 19, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Looks like the chicken is out of business for good. The phones are disconnected and the place is dark


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