Angela’s Takeaway takes off in Tillsonburg

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It’s been a Tale of Two Seasons at Angela’s Takeaway Food Company at 45 Broadway in Tillsonburg.

“The first year was really, really hard – incredibly hard,” said owner and chef Chad Richichi, who opened his takeout restaurant in April 2019. “If it wasn’t for us doing the food for Sammy Krenshaw’s – and the help of Sammy Krenshaw’s – we wouldn’t have made it.”

The challenge, he said, has been getting their name out into the public.

Angela’s second year was directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – but not in a negative way. When restaurants were limited to takeout or pick-up service, Angela’s discovered its groove.

“Everything closed and my fridge was full,” said Richichi. “And the next day was a landslide. I remember I was supposed to do (Thursday) Wing Night for Sammy’s. We went through those – it was six cases that night. I’ve never seen anything like it – and everything else on my menu. It was the biggest single night that I’ve ever had. It was unreal.

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“That put us into so many people’s homes. It put us on the map. It let people know we were here. And from that day forward we’ve been very consistent.”

One thing Richichi wants people to know is that they are not a fast food,restaurant. It may be the same location as the former Bill’s Pizza, which had a 45-year history at 45 Broadway, but Angela’s is carving out its own niche in Tillsonburg.

“We’re not a pizza restaurant – pizza makes up less than five per cent of my total sales. We sell so much more than pizza and wings, and we are doing more of the full-course meals. We are a full-service restaurant. Basically we use your home as our dining room.

“We have prime rib every Saturday. We do a lot of home-style meals. And when people started buying meals … they realized what our menu was and it was a whole new ballgame. We’ve kept those customers.

“We literally have customers who eat from here every single day.”

Approximately 40 per cent of Angela’s sales are done online through their website at https://www.angelastakeaway.com/ (where the menu is available).

“I’ve made it as accessible as possible.”

The menu includes starters, hamburgers, sandwiches and wraps, salads, fish and chips (cod, Lake Erie perch or halibut), lunch entrees updated daily, soups, pizza, and wings.

Richichi named the takeaway food company after his wife Angela.

“I always promised her that I’d have a restaurant with her name on it, but I couldn’t find a sit-down restaurant anywhere in Tillsonburg.”

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After an exhaustive search, Richichi was contacted by Sammy Krenshaw’s. He wasn’t sure how to make it work.

“It was my wife who said, ‘We’ll do takeout.’ We knew we had the Sammy’s (contract) but that wasn’t going to be enough because they’re open Thursday to Saturday, and I just wanted to get my food out there.

“I’m glad we did it, that’s for sure.”

Looking ahead, Richichi said they will continue to win customers over one dish at a time, one word-of-mouth recommendation at a time.

“I put everything I’ve got into every dish I do. And I just hope that the person who gets it can tell another person. We guarantee our food and we always have. I will do whatever it takes … because I believe in what we do. I know that we’re not the cheapest in town, but we’re also not the most expensive, and I guarantee their experience.”

Longer term, Richichi said he’d like to open a higher-end sit-down Angela’s restaurant.

“That’s what I do, I’m a classically trained chef. I’ve worked in high-end restaurants in London and Toronto, but I don’t like pompous food. I just like good downhome cooking, myself, and that’s why I like to do this (Angela’s).”

The takeout style is here to stay, he said.

“We can do it, it just comes down to the support of the community. I think the food scene is starting to come in Tillsonburg – it will come – but to have a good restaurant in Tillsonburg you have to have good customers, and to have good customers you have to have a good restaurant. It works together. So I’m just trying to give them a good restaurant in every way, shape or form.”

cabbott@postmedia.com