Hartford’s Rockin Chicken: Peruvian Specialties from Back Home
When he bought the building on Franklin Avenue in Hartford, Miguel Colan knew what he wanted the space to become — a casual restaurant serving the foods of his native Peru, including whole marinated chickens slowly spit-roasted to perfection. But there was one big deal breaker — the oven had to be charcoal-fired.
"My goal when I opened this place [was] that I had to do it with charcoal ... the way it's done back home," Colan says.
He got his wish, shipping a charcoal rotisserie from Peru. In May, Colan and his wife, Kate, opened The Rockin Chicken in the city's South End, a 49-seat eatery with a fast-casual atmosphere and a menu of Peruvian specialties.
Colan has lived in the neighborhood since he moved to the United States at age 12, and as a youth, briefly held a job at an Italian pastry shop that formerly occupied the building he now owns. He's a chiropractor now, with a nearby office, but fondly remembers the days when his mother owned a restaurant in Peru. "For many years, it was something I've wanted to have," he says.