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Fans flock to Frenchy’s for flagship sites’s last suppers

January 1, 2019

Fried chicken aficionados flocked to the original Frenchy’s location at Scott and Wheeler on Monday, lining up 15 cars deep for a last taste of the Third Ward institution’s creole staples before the flagship restaurant is razed to make way for an expansion of neighboring Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

Frenchy’s president Percy “King” Creuzot III plans to fill the last orders at the original 3919 Scott location on New Year’s Day and open a temporary location two blocks south at Blodgett and Scott on Friday. A permanent replacement for the flagship will break ground soon two blocks to the north, at Scott and Alabama.

Those drawn in by word of the 1969 flagship’s impending last suppers included first time visitor John Hoffman, a Georgia native who loves soul food but had never been to Frenchy’s and dropped $30 on white and dark meat chicken, catfish, a sausage po boy, greens, red beans and rice, chicken and shrimp gumbo and fries before driving back to Jersey Village.

Also present was Third Ward native Carl Jenkins, who went to Frenchy’s countless times after football games at his alma maters, Yates High School and Texas Southern University, and stopped by every time he visited home during the 15 years he worked in Los Angeles.

Frenchy’s has numerous restaurants across the region, but patrons — kids in sweatpants, men in suits, nurses in scrubs and many others — said the original is special.

“There’s something about this one,” said Linda Bell, who indulges in the three-piece chicken and boudin balls at various Frenchy’s locations or through Uber Eats a little more frequently than she’d like to admit. “A little more flavor. I don’t know if it’s because the pans have been here so long, you know? A little more spice to it.”

Longtime Montrose resident Debbi Griffith echoed that sentiment. She spent 57 minutes in the drive-through Monday but was unphased, grinning as she took video and pictures with her phone to document the experience.

Griffith was so intent on memorializing her visit on Instagram that she forgot to pay and had to be chased down by a Frenchy’s employee before she turned onto Scott.

“This is an institution. I gained 15 pounds one January coming here because it’s good comfort food,” she said. “I don’t care if they’re moving or not, the grease won’t be as good.”

“King” Creuzot, the son of the chain’s founder, said such worries as misplaced.

“We know how to keep it the same, and it will be the same,” he said.

His son, Percy “PC” Creuzot IV, was more to the point.

“For folks that think we’ve been using the same oil since 1969, that’s just kind of gross,” he said, laughing. “The oil is changed regularly. The magic is in the seasoning, the flour — that won’t change.”

Michael Lyle, a Hampton University student in Houston during winter break, said he trusts the food will be just as good during his next trip home.

“It’s sad to see it go. This one is special,” he said. “But if they take the workers from over here and put them over there — sometimes you add new bells and whistles, but if they keep putting that love in the food it will probably be the same.”

“King” Creuzot has said some fans told him he was crazy to close his flagship eatery, but he said it was an easy decision to facilitate the church’s good work.

Frenchy’s sold its property to Wheeler last summer to make way for a multimillion-dollar plan to enlarge the church sanctuary to seat 3,500 worshippers and add areas for educational and recreational ministries.

mike.morris@chron.com

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