West Side Little League coach Ken Coomer plans to open a new location of Chick’NCone at The Marcum in Hamilton this August. Coomer, who has coached West Side Little League since 1994, said the fork-free chicken-and-waffles restaurant chain is something he discovered after being laid off from his senior business analyst job late last year. CONTRIBUTED

Well-known Hamilton coach changing careers to open new restaurant at The Marcum

Editor’s note: This story first published on May 16, 2020.

A well-known Hamiltonian will be the owner of a new comfort food restaurant coming to the city later this year.

Ken Coomer, who has coached the West Side Little League since 1994, said he got the idea to open a Chick’nCone location after being laid off from his senior business analyst job late last year.

“I was looking for a new adventure and this came across through one of the headhunter programs that I was working with,” he said. “It caught my eye and I thought it would be a great fit for our community, especially at the location at Marcum Park.”

The fork-free, chicken-and-waffles combo restaurant is expected to make its debut at 134 Riverfront Plaza, next to The Casual Pint, by late August.

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Coomer, who was born and raised in Hamilton, said he has lived through the city’s good and bad times.

The restaurant will open in a high-profile area across from Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton in the area that has been revamped with the creation of Marcum Park, the opening of The Marcum apartment complex and the launching of construction efforts on Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill.

“Hamilton is up-and-coming,” he said.

Although he worked a corporate job for more than 20 years, launching a location of a popular dining franchise was something he has always wanted to do on his own and Chick’nCone is “a good fit.”

Part of its appeal, he said, is the restaurant chain pairing its two main ingredients in a unique way and with french fries and a variety of sauces.

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“I understand people have chicken and waffles, but this is chicken and waffles with a different flavor,” he said.

The menu at Chick’nCone is uncomplicated: a meal includes fork-free chicken-and-waffles with a sauce, Cajun Fries and a drink.

Sauce options include Cinna-Maple (classic chicken and waffles maple syrup), Traditional BBQ (sweet barbecue sauce, Yella BBQ (tangy, mustard-based barbecue sauce), Kick’n Ranch (mildly spicy ranch sauce), Buffalo Blue (spicy wing sauce with a hint of blue cheese) and Peri Peri (South African chili sauce).

Customers also can order the chicken-and-waffle meal with sauce, cajun fries or drink separately.

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The 1,400-square-foot Chick’nCone also will offer beer by the can or on tap, margaritas and soft serve ice cream in a waffle cone or a dish. It will seat between 25 and 30 people and employ between eight and 12 full- and part-time employees.

Founded in 2014, Chick’nCone has 10 licensed franchises nationwide and three in Dubai with 19 in various stages of development in the United States.

Coomer said he hopes to make Hamilton the first Chick’nCone location to use a state-of-the-art air fryer to prepare the restaurant’s chicken.

He said he is thankful for good friend and business partner Mike Rogers and CMC property broker Pete Montgomery.

“This would have been hard to achieve without them,” Coomer said.

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