MANKATO, MN - Since 1968, the giant Happy Chef statue has greeted customers who are hankering for a filling meal.  Originally, the statue had a button that customers could press to make him talk.  The iconic 35-foot-tall statue went silent back in the 90s when the system stopped working.

Thanks to modern electronics, the spoon-wielding colossus has a joke or greeting for everyone who walks by.  

"My arm sure is getting tired of holding up this spoon!"

"I would tell a history joke, but they're too old fashioned."

"I'm 50-years-old and the Vikings have still yet to win a Super Bowl."

"Gee, my legs sure are getting sore from standing here all these years!"

Those are just a few of his quips.  The statue says 55 different phases, many of which are new.  

Adrian Swales, who purchased the restaurant last year, said:  "So a lot of those sayings that you hear the chef say, are actually ideas and suggestions from the community, from random people."

People got used to having the statue muted for so many years, that it was quite a shock when his voice box was fixed.
 
Desiree Linder, one of the managers at Happy Chef, said:  "When he first started talking, some of the workers, some of the waitresses didn't know he was talking and walked past him and you see people once in a while [say] 'Woah!  He's talking again!'"

The ginormous statue has always been an attraction for the restaurant.  Now that he talks, he draws in an even bigger crowd.

Linder said:  "People always come take pictures with the statue, but now that he's talking again, there's constantly cars coming in."

For the owner of Happy Chef, bringing the icon back to life was a labor of love.

"Now parents have something that they remember from their childhood that they are now bringing their children into.", Swales said.

Everyone seems to be glad that Happy Chef has his voice back, even if he has a peculiar habit of talking out of turn.