Frenchy's

Frenchy's

The first time I had Frenchy’s chicken, I was living in Houston about 15 years ago, and my co-workers insisted I give it a try. Being from the Beaumont area, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was the best fried chicken I’d ever tasted. It had a certain seasoning to it that I never forgot and even craved when I was in the mood for chicken.

A few years later, after I moved back to Southeast Texas, I often wished that Frenchy’s would open up in Beaumont and had a few friends that would actually make the 88-mile drive west to visit Frenchy’s because they were craving its unforgettable taste.

Finally, around a decade later, my wish came true when Frenchy’s opened up in the new H-E-B grocery store on College Street in June 2015.

Frenchy’s wasn’t always a franchise. It started out as a po-boy shop in Houston’s Third Ward in 1969 founded by Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot Jr., a New Orleans native who had traveled to Houston for sales work, and his wife, Sallie.

The po-boys were tasty and easy to make, but the small establishment quickly decided to add fried chicken to the menu.

Creuzot used an old New Orleans family recipe to season the meat, and added sides like dirty rice and jambalaya — flavor that quickly blew the competition out of the water.

The original location on Scott Street down the road from the University of Houston has grown to 34 locations across the Greater Houston area and now in Beaumont.

“The original location is still on Scott Street. It’s been there since 1969,” said Issac Cheatham, general manager of Frenchy’s in Beaumont.

In 2010, Frenchy passed away. His wife, Sallie, is in her 80s now and still works at the original location, said Cheatham, who trained side-by-side with Sallie at the original location on the corner of Scott and Wheeler in H-Town.

“It’s almost like a spiritual experience,” he said. “Who can say they trained around the owner?”

But enough about the history, let’s get to the chicken and what makes Frenchy’s so good.

“This is a Creole fried chicken from a Creole family recipe,” Cheatham said. “It’s not a heavy breading — it’s light. It’s not spicy, but it has a lot of flavor. It’s got the family feel, but now it’s an experience for everybody.”

“It tastes like home-cooked chicken. It’s really good. A lot of the guys at work go over there when they want to get some chicken,” said Jeff Calhoun, who lives and works in Beaumont and usually orders the three-piece dark with fries and a drink. “With Frenchy’s being in the location that it is, it’s going to do good.”

I was a little hungrier than Calhoun and opted for the five-piece dark special with mashed potatoes ($7.99). The potatoes had just the right amount of seasoning (appearing to have a smidge of red pepper in it, which gave it a little Cajun kick) and the chicken was juicy but not too greasy, just as I remember it.

My cohort decided to try the Beaumont combo, aptly named because it comes with chicken, fish and boudain — which are Beaumonter favorites.

For $7.99, you get a full plate of food featuring five pieces of catfish, a chicken tender and two boudain balls. We aren’t talking catfish fillets. We are talking five generous-sized catfish pieces that are cut perfectly and were as juicy as we have tasted. It seems like every place tries their hand with boudain balls, but Frenchy’s version reminds us of the ones you get right across the river in Cajun country.

“Every day we sell about 20 of these combos,” Cheatham said. “The first day we sold about 50.”

As you finish your meal, save room for desert because the peach cobbler comes highly recommended by management. You have to give it a try.

So whether you shop for groceries at H-E-B or happen to be on the south side of Beaumont and your stomach begins to growl, stop by Frenchy’s and taste what you’ve been missing.

 

Chad Cooper contributed to this article.

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