A landmark restored

Original Huey Magoo’s reopens after fire


photo by Jake Arthur

Before reopening, co-owners Matt Armstrong and Thad Hudgens wanted to expand on their menu by offering more than just chicken tenders. They hoped this would bring back the Oviedo community and improve business overall.

As 11 a.m. approached on Saturday, Sept. 5, co-owners Matt Armstrong and Thad Hudgens decided it was time to flip the sign to “open” and reopen their Oviedo Huey Magoo’s restaurant established in 2004, on Alafaya Trail.

“We didn’t even advertise or know that we were going to open that day,” Hudgens said. “As soon as the door opened, people were swarming the building.”

On May 21, 2014, a fire (video under story) caused by unwashed cleaning towels damaged Huey Magoo’s first location. No one was hurt in the fire, but the building had to be reconstructed.

“It was definitely something you did not want to hear at 3 in the morning,” Hudgins said.

As a result of the fire, Armstrong and Hudgens had to let go of 90 percent of previous employees.

While the restaurant was under reconstruction, the closest Huey Magoo’s to Oviedo residents was in Winter Springs.

“It was very upsetting to drive 20 minutes for the closest Huey’s,” junior Gabby Diomede said. “However, after I finally had it, it was well worth the drive.”

Although it may have been disappointing for Oviedo residents to wait more than a year for Huey Magoo’s to reopen, Armstrong and Hudgens wanted to redesign both the interior and exterior of the restaurant to stray away from the 7-Eleven gas station next door.

Along with the redesign of the building, Huey Magoo’s also redesigned their menu; now offering wraps, sandwiches, and salads, as well as their famous chicken tenders.

“It was pretty exciting to see a menu with more than just chicken tenders on it,” freshman Lexi Hill said. “Now, I think they will get more business and it will become the place to be at.”

When junior Robby Boyer was on the freshman football team, going to Huey Magoo’s was considered a tradition.

“It did not matter if we won or lost, it was just the place to hang out at after the game,” Boyer said. “I’m hoping now that after every varsity football or basketball game, everyone will see Huey Magoo’s as that way too.”

Despite the fact that Armstrong and Hudgins are focusing on the reopening of their original Oviedo location, they announced their fourth location will launch in Altamonte Springs in October.

“I think with the opening of the Altamonte Springs location, we are really trying to get our name out there,” Hudgens said. If we ever expand Huey Magoo’s nationally, we still want people to understand that it started in Orlando.”

In a few weeks there will be an official grand reopening of the Oviedo location, but a date has not yet been set.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t even think we need a grand reopening, Hudgens said. “We love our relationship with the city of Oviedo and just want to let them know that fire didn’t kill us, it only made us stronger.”

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