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Owner of Winter Park’s Hen & Hog battles serious health issues while keeping his business open

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Content provided by ClickOrlando.com and Graham Media Group, WKMG, and Graham Media Group. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by ClickOrlando.com and Graham Media Group, WKMG, and Graham Media Group or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

A.J. Haines — the chef and owner of The Hen & Hog in Winter Park — has been relatively open about his health struggles.

“The first time it hit — as far as the diverticulitis attack — it was a Tuesday morning,” Haines said. “(I was) like, ‘I don’t feel good. This is really hurting me today.’ I woke up at like 11:30 at night drenched in sweat — took the thermometer, I had 104 degree temperature. I’m like, ‘I’m in bad shape.’ So drove myself to the hospital and four and a half hours, five hours later was emergency surgery.”

This happened in January. The restaurant had just opened a few months prior in October. Haines said this first stint in the hospital forced him to shut down his restaurant for two and a half weeks.

“I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything. So the whole restaurant just was closed,” he said.

When he was finally able to return to work, Haines posted online about the experience. The post ended up getting a lot of attention from the community.

“When I did my little post it was more of like, ‘Hey, we’re back open’ and I didn’t expect it to go as viral as it did,” Haines said. “I’m just telling everybody we’re back. Come help out, come support local.”

The chef has had to deal with a few more stints in the hospital and is still experiencing “a lot of pain.” Despite that, Haines remains active in his business, though not as much as he would like.

“They (doctors) told me three months of nothing over 25 pounds. So (my) staff has been great as far as carrying me — you know, grabbing stuff, doing deliveries, coming with me to go shopping and pick stuff up,” Haines said. “It’s been tough and I always feel like I’m not the go-getter anymore. I can’t be. I have to watch myself and say ‘No, no, I can’t. Can you come grab this please?’ Because I don’t want any more surgery. I never want to go back.”

In addition to his health problems, Haines has also had to contend with rising food costs and parking issues around his restaurant on West Fairbanks Avenue.

“We have our own parking lot across the street, but it’s always full,” he said. “There’s a couple of other businesses in the area that fill it up and cars sit there for two or three hours and very hard to rotate in and out.”

Fortunately, Haines has cultivated some strong relationships with his neighboring businesses that have helped him with his parking woes.

“Fannie Hillman (& Associates) is great and has been wonderful to us. So we get their parking lot which is about 45 spots. That’s great,” he said.

Other nearby shops and restaurants are also willing to let Haines’ customers use their spots after hours or on the weekend.

Despite the hurdles put in his path, Haines is pushing ahead with The Hen & Hog and he hopes that customers will keep his restaurant in their regular rotation.

“You got to stay afloat,” he said. “This is our first year. I’m not planning on making any money and never was.”

On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Haines talks about growing up in Wisconsin, his family’s restaurant and coming to Orlando. He also shares his plans to write a cookbook and talks about the career he had before starting his culinary journey.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  continue reading

133 episodes

Artwork
iconShare
 
Manage episode 379411755 series 2988872
Content provided by ClickOrlando.com and Graham Media Group, WKMG, and Graham Media Group. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by ClickOrlando.com and Graham Media Group, WKMG, and Graham Media Group or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

A.J. Haines — the chef and owner of The Hen & Hog in Winter Park — has been relatively open about his health struggles.

“The first time it hit — as far as the diverticulitis attack — it was a Tuesday morning,” Haines said. “(I was) like, ‘I don’t feel good. This is really hurting me today.’ I woke up at like 11:30 at night drenched in sweat — took the thermometer, I had 104 degree temperature. I’m like, ‘I’m in bad shape.’ So drove myself to the hospital and four and a half hours, five hours later was emergency surgery.”

This happened in January. The restaurant had just opened a few months prior in October. Haines said this first stint in the hospital forced him to shut down his restaurant for two and a half weeks.

“I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything. So the whole restaurant just was closed,” he said.

When he was finally able to return to work, Haines posted online about the experience. The post ended up getting a lot of attention from the community.

“When I did my little post it was more of like, ‘Hey, we’re back open’ and I didn’t expect it to go as viral as it did,” Haines said. “I’m just telling everybody we’re back. Come help out, come support local.”

The chef has had to deal with a few more stints in the hospital and is still experiencing “a lot of pain.” Despite that, Haines remains active in his business, though not as much as he would like.

“They (doctors) told me three months of nothing over 25 pounds. So (my) staff has been great as far as carrying me — you know, grabbing stuff, doing deliveries, coming with me to go shopping and pick stuff up,” Haines said. “It’s been tough and I always feel like I’m not the go-getter anymore. I can’t be. I have to watch myself and say ‘No, no, I can’t. Can you come grab this please?’ Because I don’t want any more surgery. I never want to go back.”

In addition to his health problems, Haines has also had to contend with rising food costs and parking issues around his restaurant on West Fairbanks Avenue.

“We have our own parking lot across the street, but it’s always full,” he said. “There’s a couple of other businesses in the area that fill it up and cars sit there for two or three hours and very hard to rotate in and out.”

Fortunately, Haines has cultivated some strong relationships with his neighboring businesses that have helped him with his parking woes.

“Fannie Hillman (& Associates) is great and has been wonderful to us. So we get their parking lot which is about 45 spots. That’s great,” he said.

Other nearby shops and restaurants are also willing to let Haines’ customers use their spots after hours or on the weekend.

Despite the hurdles put in his path, Haines is pushing ahead with The Hen & Hog and he hopes that customers will keep his restaurant in their regular rotation.

“You got to stay afloat,” he said. “This is our first year. I’m not planning on making any money and never was.”

On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Haines talks about growing up in Wisconsin, his family’s restaurant and coming to Orlando. He also shares his plans to write a cookbook and talks about the career he had before starting his culinary journey.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  continue reading

133 episodes

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