Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.
I've been an Orange County food writer for several years and I can't remember meeting a nicer couple than Elie and Samira Helou, the owners of Rocky's Chicken in Mission Viejo.
The definition of "mom and pop," this Lebanese couple knows their customers by name and sometimes sneaks an extra side of something tasty into the bag for regulars. So it was a sad to learn recently that the couple will retire on June 1 after 15 years at Rocky's.
Elie Helou--the soft-spoken man behind the counter who has perfected an orange-hued charbroiled chicken similar but superior to the birds at El Pollo Loco--said the restaurant will remain open, but under new ownership. He promised the same operation with a bigger, better menu.
He said the couple was selling the chicken and burger restaurant because "it's time to smell the roses."
For stuffing the Mission Viejo/Lake Forest community full of juicy chicken all these years, you two have definitely earned it.