“Entrepreneurship is about risk.” This is what sisters Ciliana and Gladys Jean had to say when sharing the story of their business venture. The Barnyard, an incredible chicken restaurant located in Bradenton’s Oneco Farmer’s Market, has quite a back story.
It all started when Ciliana and Gladys were looking for “the next thing” to do with their lives. It was August of 2019 and the great Popeye’s chicken sandwich debate was in full swing. The sisters thought they could make a better sandwich – so they did!
The business started at the kitchen table, and after perfecting the recipe, they began making chicken sandwiches on their Mom’s screened-in porch. Nobody expected what happened next.
When word got out about the incredible food they were making, their business blew up! People were placing orders hours ahead of time and were lined up around the block every day, waiting to get their hands on this incredible chicken sandwich.
They found themselves up early every morning, taking orders through Facebook Messenger hours before lunchtime and frying up their chicken using pots of oil on the stove. They created a drive-through system, figured out how to take credit card payments, and even hired employees to help with their rapidly growing “patio restaurant.”
Word quickly spread and the support they received from the community was overwhelming. Their clientele grew and became more diverse.
Eventually, they outgrew their operation and knew they needed to move into a commercial space.
The stars aligned when they came across a restaurant going out of business and were able to get a great deal on all the equipment they needed. It was virtually brand new and the price was right. At the same time, they found space at The Oneco Farmer’s Market. They had just five days to build out their restaurant, move everything in, and get started – and that’s exactly what they did.
With no formal training, no business plan, and no investors, they dove in headfirst.
While these sisters started the business with just $75 in their pockets and quit their full-time jobs to make just $300 a day in sales (no profits) – their vision and their passion were enough.
By June of 2020, they had sold over 9,000 chicken sandwiches. They moved into the Oneco Farmer’s Market on July 1st of 2020 and by May 31st of 2021, they were voted “Business of the Year.”
What started as a simple sandwich has grown to so much more. Today, The Barnyard is thriving, with people traveling from all across the state (and other states!) to get their hands on the “Barnyard Betty” and other delicious menu items. From 2020 to 2021, they had a 71% growth in their small business — during a pandemic! And they’re not going anywhere.
When asked about their vision for the future, Ciliana and Gladys said, “We do not plan on stopping anytime soon. The Barnyard is what Bradenton has been waiting for. Our goal is to be the biggest and best thing Bradenton has to offer, within our industry, with the help of our amazing community. What you see here is just the beginning, we are the future”
Food That Creates “A Party in Your Mouth”
Since their humble beginnings, Ciliana and Gladys seem to have perfected all things chicken (and some pretty great sides, too!). Every item on the menu has its own story and no matter what you pick, you literally cannot go wrong.
While they wouldn’t reveal their secret recipes, they say their unique flavor profile comes from their island background. They use special marinades and seasonings that are just a bit different than you’re used to, and the result is “a party in your mouth.”
As a first-timer, you may want to stick with the original Barnyard Betty – a simple deep-fried (or grilled) chicken sandwich topped with bacon, special sauce, and Swiss cheese. Of course, you’ll want to add a side of the AMAZING chicken wings, some ooey-gooey Mac & Cheese (called Cornelious Mac), and some double-loaded crunch fries topped with queso cheese, real bacon bits, and fresh jalapenos.
The Barnyard also serves up fresh-squeezed lemonade made every day, in flavors including classic, strawberry, pina colada, and strawberry pina colada.
Looking for something different? We were huge fans of their “Itsa Wrap,” made with deep-fried chicken, real bacon bits, sweet corn, lettuce, tomato & shredded cheese rolled into a warm spinach wrap. Oh! And if you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss out on their sweet potato cinnamon-sugar fries.
When You’re at The Barnyard, You’re Family
Gladys and Ciliana credit the local community for keeping them going during the pandemic and contributing to the success they’ve achieved today. They don’t consider their patrons to be customers – instead, they call everyone who visits The Barnyard “Cousins.”
No matter who you are or how you found about about them, when you visit, you’re family.
Running the business is also a family affair. In addition to Ciliana and Gladys, when you visit, you’re also likely to see their younger siblings who have joined together to help make this dream come true.
When you support The Barnyard, you’re not helping a CEO buy their third mansion, you’re supporting local families right in our community.
Check it Out for Yourself!
If you’re ready to enjoy some of the best chicken you’ve ever had, now is the perfect time!
The Barnyard is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sundays). They’re located inside the Oneco Farmer’s Market, at 5108 15th St. E. in Bradenton. You can head on in and order your food in-person, or, if you’re in a rush, order ahead online or give them a call at 850-212-0733. They also offer delivery through Grubhub.
Make sure you follow them on Facebook so you can keep up with all their latest news and announcements. And when you stop by (and we hope you will!) be sure to let them know you heard about it on Discover Bradenton!