"Continuing A Southeast Kansas Tradition!"
The History of Chicken Annie's
Ann Frances Rehak met Charlie Pichler in 1914, when she left home to do the housework at the Pichler's. In the early 1900's the only work available to young ladies was housework. Ann and Charles were married on April 28, 1917.
They started their married life in a three-room house in Yale, a mining camp called No. 13, five miles north of Pittsburg and 31/2 miles east. Charley was a miner and worked in several of the area mines. Out of this union, four children were born: Ann Irene, Wilma, Carl, and Louella.
Charley was in a mine accident in March 1933 at 24 Western. He was severely injured, one leg was crushed and the other had to be amputated below the knee. It was now up to Annie to become the breadwinner of the family. For a short while she worked as a seamstress for the WPA, which was a government project during the depression. Then she started selling ham and veal cutlet sandwiches for 15� and home-brew. This was during prohibition days and many of the foreigners made their own wine, whiskey, and home-brew.
Ann started serving chicken dinners in a small way in 1934. In the beginning she raised her own chicken, but as the demand became greater, she purchased chickens from neighboring farms. She also raised peppers and pickled them. Her chicken dinners consisted of three pieces of chicken, German potato salad, cole slaw, a strip of pickled pepper, a slice of tomato, and bread, all for 75�. All of the preparation of the food was done by hand -- the chickens were slaughtered, dressed, and breaded. While Anne took care of the purchasing, cooking, finances, etc., Charley did some of the preparing of the food and was also the bartender and cashier.
The road leading off the highway to get to Chicken Annie's was a dirt road -- in the winter and during rains, huge ruts formed and made traveling difficult, but it didn't seem to deter customers. In fact, many made the remark they enjoyed the drive into the country as it was like coming home.
The Restaurant became known as Chicken Annie's at the suggestion of Dr. Scott, from Fort Scott. Saturday nights were quite lively as the customers not only enjoyed their meal, but also could drink beer and dance to the jukebox. As the business grew the little three-room house had to be remodeled and several rooms were added. People would come out and had to wait, with the picnic tables and big yard, they didn't mind.
In 1961, Annie and Charley retired, passing the business on to their daughter, Louella, and her husband Louis Lipoglav, and their son, Carl and his wife, Rosemary. By 1972, the country home was no longer adequate for the prospering business. A new building was built down the street from the old Pichler house. Carl and Rosemary left the Chicken Annie's Original to help their son, Anthony, establish Pichler's Chicken Annie's, located south of Pittsburg. In 1971, Louis and Louella purchased the Girard location formally known as the "Sunflower Tavern & Chicken Dinners" in Ringo from Louis's mother, Mary Pistotnik.
On May 10, 1978, Charley died and Annie passed away on September 25, 1991, leaving the family tradition to their children and grandchildren.
"Continuing a Southeast Kansas Tradition!"
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