WASHINGTON -- Ken Poretsky thinks he's found the recipe for what can make his second try at owning a restaurant a success.
Ken's, at the site of the former Vito's Pizza and Italian Restaurant at 1311 Washington Road, offers fast-food staples like hamburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, chicken fingers, French fries, chili-cheese fries, milk shakes and malts.
There's also Jones soda and Chocolate Shoppe ice cream.
"I couldn't solve the Vito's puzzle, so I threw it away," said Poretsky, who purchased Vito's from its original owner in January.
"After Vito's opened (in November 2016), it went gangbusters," Poretsky said. "Then it started on a steady decline and never recovered."
By the time this fall rolled around, Poretsky said, he knew Vito's wasn't going to make it so he started thinking about how he could rebrand the location.
He got his answer seeing the consistent long lines outside and inside the McDonald's and Taco Bell restaurants across the street.
"People are busy. They want a fast-food place to eat where they can get good food at reasonable prices. That's what we have," Poretsky said.
Vito's closed in early October. Ken's opened Nov. 30, with an interior that has been transformed from an Italian restaurant to a place with brightly colored tables.
Poretsky simplified the restaurant's hours to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and its menu.
Here are some menu samples: A cheeseburger combo (includes fries and a drink) is $6.99. A chili dog combo is $5.59. Substituting a shake or malt for a drink is an additional $3.99. A 20-ounce soda is $2.29. A double scoop of ice cream is $4.69. Shakes and malts are $5.49. A kid's hamburger combo is $3.99.
Carry-out is available in the restaurant or by calling ahead at 200-0579.
Future plans for Ken's include making use of the former Taco Bell restaurant's drive-through window, online ordering, a game room for kids and picnic tables outside.
"Right now, we're taking baby steps," Poretsky said.
He has 14 employees. Thirteen are part-time, one full-time.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.