TASTE TASTE – Frenchy’s Chicken “BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN THE SOUTH?”
Frenchy’s Chicken is a restaurant chain in Houston, Texas selling Louisiana Creole cuisine. It was established in 1969 by Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot Jr.
In 2010 Allan Turner of the Houston Chronicle wrote that the original location, still operated by the founding family, and the chain-operated locations together have a “loyal clientele”. Houston R&B artist Beyoncé Knowles made references to the chain in her music.
n 1969 Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot Jr., a New Orleans native who had traveled to Houston for sales work, and Sallie, his wife, established the restaurant. The original restaurant, in the Third Ward area, is in proximity to both the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. Creuzot’s wife had operated the original location.
Creuzot opened the store by leasing a storefront in the Third Ward area with $2,000 ($13061.71 when adjusted for inflation). Creuzot originally planned to name the restaurant “Etienne” after a shortened form of the middle name of his daughter. Creuzot stated that a friend believed that potential customers would not know how to spell or pronounce it or find it in a phone book, so he suggested “Frenchy’s Po-Boys” as a name.
The original restaurant opened on July 3, 1969. On that day, the restaurant received $14 ($91.43 when adjusted for inflation). Creuzot used a shoebox to store cash until he had enough money to buy a cash register. Over the summer, the business slowly increased. When university students began attending classes in the fall, business tremendously increased.
Initially Creuzot’s restaurant sold red beans and rice, hot sausage, and oyster loaf. An automobile dealer adjacent to the restaurant, Jesse Hearns, suggested and persuaded Creuzot into adding fried chicken into the menu. Creuzot stated that Hearns went to the restaurant and cooked the chicken for him, and “If he hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t.” Hearns argued that Creuzot did not need to teach Houstonians how to eat fried chicken while he would have to teach them how to eat other kinds of Louisiana food, and that Houstonians were familiar with fried chicken; if the Houstonians liked fried chicken, Creuzot would be able to introduce them to other kinds of food. Creuzot received a recipe for fried chicken from a family friend in New Orleans and Creuzot himself slightly modified the recipe. The restaurant’s name changed to “Frenchy’s Creole-Fried Chicken”. By 1985 the chicken made up over 75% of Creuzot’s business. Creuzot gained the nickname “Frenchy” because people associated the name of the restaurant with him.