MONTROSE – If you’ve driven down Townsend Avenue past Seventh Avenue in the last couple of months, you’ve seen him standing on the corner – a man in a chicken suit.
From Wednesday through Sunday, he doesn’t say a word, but strolls in front of Pollo Azado, a new Mexican-fare restaurant recently opened by Montrose native Shawna DeVinny and her husband, Jose Gonzalez.
“His identity is a well-kept secret,” DeVinny said. “He comes in and out, he changes in the back, but no one knows it’s him.”
DeVinny will only reveal that the chicken is a man in his 50s and that he’s the new restaurant’s main source of advertising.
DeVinny and Gonzalez decided to go into business for the first time when they opened Pollo Azado after they both lost their jobs.
DeVinny had been working from home as an accountant after the couple moved here two years ago, and Gonzalez was a landscaper.
After being laid off, they decided to open a restaurant that served tender roasted chicken, reminiscent of Gonzalez’ memories of vendors in Mexico who set up big roadside grills where they roast chickens over mesquite wood.
Pollo Azado means roasted chicken in Spanish, DeVinny explained, and that’s the main fare. With only eight small tables, most of their business is takeout, and with reasonable prices.
“Our goal was for a family of four to be able to eat for $20,” she said. Top price on the menu is a whole roasted chicken for $14.95, and with sides of beans, rice, salsa and roasted peppers, it’s almost more than four people can eat.
The prices go down from there, with a half chicken at $7.99 and a quarter chicken priced at $4.99. To place an order and get more menu details, call 970/249-6800.
When the couple decided to open a restaurant, money was tight, but with help from family and friends, the couple took over a former donut shop across from Montrose High, hired a tiny staff and, about three months ago, opened their doors.
“We didn’t need a lot, since it was already set up with tables and chairs, the counter and even a cash register,” DeVinny said. “We just had to get some specialty cooking equipment.”
The menu may be simple, but the chicken, roasted golden brown on the outside, is deliciously tender, and customers get their choice of flour or corn tortillas. Customers can choose from two kinds of salsa – roasted red chili and chili verde – along with red onion habanero at a side station.
“The salsa is what makes it Mexican,” DeVinny said.
Business is great, and they already have regular customers, she said.
“One lady and her husband drive down from Gunnison once a week, and we have customers from Telluride and Grand Junction,” she said.
Business is going so well, in fact, that the couple, who have five children, are planning another Pollo Azado in Grand Junction, and recently found a location on North Avenue near Mesa State.
DeVinny didn’t say exactly when the new Grand Junction location will open, but more than likely, it will be heralded by another giant chicken pacing outside the door.