Ready to spread its wings, The Big Chicken has reopened

With pun-filled story after pun-filled story since The Big Chicken closed for its overhaul in January,The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has finally run out of chicken jokes.

And it’s good timing because the roadside icon on top of a KFC reopened Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The $2.2 million renovation was part of a larger effort to freshen up the other 60 or so KFCs owned by KBP Foods.

But this wasn’t like all those other locations, in part due to the 56-foot animatronic chicken.

“Our goal for this remodel was to uphold and maintain the integrity of the Big Chicken, while preserving it for future generations to enjoy,” KBP president Mike Kulp said in a news release.

The rebuild included a fresh coat of paint on the chicken, two new patios, a screened-in back porch and the addition of 1,185 square feet along with 94 seats to the dining area.

There’s also a new sign outside that reads “The BIG Chicken,” which provides apparently needed context to the whole situation.

The chicken was constructed in 1963 and designed by Georgia Tech architectural student Hubert Puckett for what was at that site — Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck and Shake.

The corporate colonel took over in 1974. The company considered tearing down the bird structure in 1993 after high winds damaged it, but people protested.

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Nearly a quarter-century later, a freshened up chicken stands at 12 Cobb Parkway and remains the most important structure when it comes to giving directions in Marietta.

“We take a lot of pride in this restaurant, and can’t wait for the community of Marietta, and all those who stop along their travels, to see the Big Chicken in a whole new way,” Kulp said.