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Newsy Nuggets: Frenchy’s, Willy’s, and of course a new chicken franchise

Written By Scott Joseph On June 22, 2021

Willys Frenchy Logo Proof copy

The team behind Big Fin Seafood Kitchen and Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe plan to open two new prototype concepts next month in the Gatlin Hall Brewing food market on South Orange Avenue and Gatlin Avenue.

Frenchy’s Wood-fired and Willy’s Original will join another tenant, Da Kine Poke, and the beer-tapping bar when the facility finally opens. It has faced delays – I told you in January that it had completed permitting and planned a March open – but now is aiming for just after the Fourth of July.

Frenchy’s will buck the Italian stereotype with its pizzas, said co-owner Philippe Villain, who is also French. Willy’s will serve USDA angus beef smash burgers and also offer an eight-ounce steakhouse style burger. As is usual with food hall setups, both will be quick-serve operations where customers order at the food stall and sit in a common seating area that serves all vendors.

Villain says there are advanced negotiations for other Frenchy’s and Willy’s operations to open by the end of the year.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Speaking of Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe, it has a new neighbor with a similar pineapple motif. The Pinery opened Monday on the ground floor of the Lake House Apartments overlooking Ivanhoe. The menu, overseen by executive chef Naomi Freeman, features braised short ribs, Florida grouper, Scottish salmon and seafood stew, “dressed tableside.” It’s open for dinner.

It wouldn’t be a Newsy Nuggets column without the announcement of another chicken franchise. bb.q Chicken will take over the space on Colonial Drive at Shine Avenue vacated by Tasty Wok, which moved across the street. The lowercased bb.q – if there’s a story on the way the name is presented it isn’t explained on the company’s website – started in South Korea in 1995 and moved to to the US.A in 2014. The Mills 50 restaurant will be the first in Florida. Interesting fact: bb.q operates a Chicken University in Korea. I believe my alma mater’s Salukis could beat them in football.

Portillo’s, the Chicago dog and beef sandwich chain, finally opened in O-Town West, taking some of the heat off of neighboring White Castle, which for some reason reopened its ghost kitchen operation. Because it went so well the first time. And second time.

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