Owners of Houston’s iconic fried chicken chain Frenchy’s Chicken have been planning for a new location for decades, and this spring, they’ll finally open the restaurant they’ve always dreamed of.
King Creuzot, who took the helm of Frenchy’s enterprise in 1989, said the new location at 3602 Scott Street, will be everything his father and Frenchy’s founder Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot imagined come its opening in late April or early May.
“When my dad started Frenchy’s, it was his desire to introduce New Orleans-style, Creole food to Houston” in a quick-serve format, says King Creuzot, 73, but despite its huge success, “it was his opinion that we owed our customers in Houston a new experience and a new restaurant,” Creuzot says. Long after Percy Creuzot’s death from stroke in 2010, his wife and son King Creuzot have kept the dream alive.
Like Frenchy’s original Third Ward mainstay, the newest location will be tucked between other major Houston institutions like Texas Southern University — Houston’s historically Black college, the historic Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Jack Yates High School, and the University of Houston’s football stadium.
Frenchy’s newest outpost will also feature ample parking, multiple cash registers, an outdoor walk-up window for orders, and a double drive-thru, which is expected to decrease the traffic the locations are known to generate, says architect Paul C. Heisler. The restaurant will also aim to be pedestrian-friendly, with a sidewalk cafe, an outdoor patio with umbrella tables, and a covered front porch patio, similar to the original restaurant’s design.
“The whole concept is geared toward the customer,” says architect Paul C. Heisler, who is designing the latest Frenchy’s. “The customer has been so patient with Frenchy’s — with its long lines and traffic. We’re developing something here that caters to the ease of access and the ease of service.”
Heisler also went a step further to play off of Creuzot’s New Orleans family roots, with Bourbon Street-esque balconies and arches in its entryway that play off of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, which has served as a starting place for parades and celebrations in the city for generations.
“Just the design of the restaurant will make you think you’re in New Orleans in the French Quarter,” Creuzot says. “It’s more than a quick-serve fried chicken restaurant. That is what we do, but the experience in this new restaurant will be something different for our customers.”
The beloved chicken business, which currently has 11 locations, opened its first location at 3919 Scott St., across from Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, on July 3, 1969. The restaurant, which aimed to dish out New Orleans cuisine in a quick-serve format, quickly became a favorite among locals and visitors alike, including Beyonce. In 2019, the flagship was torn down and opened in its temporary location later that year, but it was always in the plans to open a larger locale, King Creuzot says.
Creuzot says his father first sat down with an architect more than 50 years ago to discuss a permanent location and later began working on the project with Heisler around 25 years ago, according to the architect. The restaurant was originally slated for a separate piece of land, but that project was shelved due to issues with renters, Heisler said. After Percy Creuzot died in 2010, it was years before King Creuzot decided he and his mother wanted to move the original location using a land swap deal with Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.
While the family and Heisler worked on budgets and securing budgets, the restaurant moved to a temporary location on Scott and Blodgett streets but found that costs associated with the restaurant had gone up, and code permits, following major hurricanes, changed, requiring a longer, more drawn-out process.
Eventually, the restaurant secured leased land from the Houston Public Library system, Heisler said, but construction has still taken forever, and costs have increased by up to 40 percent.
The restaurant, which has already broken ground, is now weeks away from becoming a reality, according to Creuzot, with one of the last steps being to install equipment.
All in all, Heisler says, “it’s become a labor of love.”
- Frenchy’s Chicken Breaks Ground on New Flagship Scott Street Location [D-Mars]
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- The Owner of Frenchy’s Chicken Filed a Lawsuit Over Attorney Negligence
- 51 years strong: Frenchy’s remains a beloved Houston institution [Houston Chronicle]