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LOCAL LINKS: Jill’s Chicken Shack

IONA, Idaho (KIFI) - A local couple has taken their midlife crisis to a whole new level by opening a southern-style chicken restaurant on Main Street in Iona.

“Some people buy corvettes, some people write books, travel the world, or do lots of easier things than open a restaurant,” Co-owner Clint Reading said. “We are nuts.” 

Clint and Jill Reading opened Jill’s Chicken Shack in the old Ernie’s building just a few weeks ago in Iona. 

“We have talked about opening a restaurant for a long long time, but finding our niche has been tricky because we didn’t want to be a straight competitor with someone else in the area,” Jill said.  “The one thing that really stuck when we kept talking about it was southern-style fried chicken.”

Nothing says southern styler fried chicken quite like a local family-owned mom and pop. In fact, the readings have hired their children to help out. 

“I grew up on a farm and I learned how to work really hard and if you don’t have a farm or something, how do you teach your kids how to work hard,” Jill said. “I want my kids to know that if you have a dream, it’s okay to go for it. Even if you’re 40 and you have a really stable job… it’s ok to try something different.”

The Reading family has also had plenty of support from the community and other small businesses. Before their grand opening, Jill’s Chicken Shack hosted a small pop-up at Raised Southern Barbecue Co. in Shelley.

“He [the owner] was just super kind and he actually offered us the opportunity to take over his restaurant on a Monday when he wasn’t in there,” Clint said. That was our first real go at it. We learned a lot from it, but that’s when we knew we knew.”

“I think there’s a tribe of small business owners who want to see other small business owners be successful,” Jill said.

Jill’s Chicken Shak offers a variety of chicken pieces, raspberry salad, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, cinnamon rolls, and even kool-aid on tap. 

“We also have .50 cent ice cream.”

So it’s obvious that the Readings have lost their minds, but not enough to give up their recipe for success.

“So… in the back, I have a bucket of magic. It literally has magic written on it… it’s a long process for that recipe,” Clint said.

To find out more about Jill’s Chicken Shack, click here.

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Bre Clark


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