Auction to settle English’s fate

(Feb. 20, 2015) The former Philadelphia Ave. and 15th Street location of English’s Chicken will have its fate determined today, Feb. 20, at the restaurant’s auction, but what the community of Worcester County wants to know is where can we find this delicious chicken?

Unfortunately, owner Phil Hall will not disclose details and information until after the auction is over.

“I know it’s a great product and there will be chicken,” Hall said. “The original recipe will be available this summer and we will announce future plans after the sale.”

He did say many of English’s customers enjoy hot sauce on their chicken, which inspired the idea to launch a spicy chicken version.

Hall may not have spilled the beans, but he did give hope that English’s chicken will be savored by Worcester County residents for years to come in the near future.

After closing the 15th Street Ocean City location, Bay Country Meals was the only other store in the area who sold English’s Chicken. Last month, the Salisbury store also closed its doors, leaving no place in the area to purchase English’s famous chicken.

“The closing of Bay Country Meals will allow us to concentrate our efforts on finding a more efficient and profitable vehicle for delivering our flagship product [English’s chicken] to the customer, while also addressing the needs of our other business interests,” stated a farewell letter posed on the door of Bay Country Meals in January.

In addition, the Bay County Meals farewell letter, cited “increased operating costs, a stagnant sales base and increased competition in an already saturated market” for the reasons it closed.

Jim and Jack English opened their iconic Eastern Shore business in 1937. Its Salisbury flagship location expanded to Ocean City in 1963 and a third generation of the family has owned and operated the location until it closed after Labor Day. 

Rumors have swirled about what English’s owners alternative distribution of their chicken products will entail, including they are finished with retail, but will continue in the food business.

The secret will remain for at least a little while longer.

In the meantime, its former location including the restaurant and an adjacent vacant lot will be up for auction starting at noon today. The trade name English’s is not for sale.

The restaurant portion is approximately 5,730 square feet and comes with a fully-equipped commercial kitchen and buffet stream line. The space seats about 200 people and the parking lot has 50 spaces.

The commercially-zoned property has two parts; one lot is 8,230 square feet and the other is 14,634 square feet, which makes the space a little more than half an acre.

Published real estate taxes for the two are $18,154.62 yearly, according to the auctioneer.

“For a developer to have a piece of land this size is a great opportunity,” said David Billig, a partner with the Baltimore-based A.J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers. “I feel this portion of Ocean City had been overlooked, it’s on a wide stretch of land, one block from the beach with a lot of potential.”

He has received a number of calls from people interested in the property and the English’s auction page on www.ajbillig.com has received more than 1,000 views.

No one has thrown an offer out yet, but Billig said it’s always hard to judge an auction because many people register that day.

A $100,000 deposit from the buyer will be required at auction to purchase the property in the heart of Ocean City. Either certified check or cashier’s check will be accepted.

The auction will take place today, Feb. 20, at noon on the northeast corner of Philadelphia Ave. and 15th Street.

For more information, call 410-296-8440 or email dan@ajbillig.com.

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