Fla­vors of Chez Porky’s re­born at Chez Wings

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - DINING - By Michael Mayo

Like many South Florid­i­ans, Mukul Sea­son loved the rasp­berry wings at Chez Porky’s, a Pom­pano Beach hole in the wall that had a large and loyal fol­low­ing over its three-decade run.

“I would come in all the time in the early ‘90s and the place would be packed,” says Sea­son, a Bangladesh na­tive and long­time South Florida res­i­dent. “The rasp­berry wings, the lemon-gar­lic-but­ter wings, the spicy Asian wings, the Louisiana wings — they’re all clas­sics.”

Now, thanks to Sea­son and wife Nas­rin, the wings that made Chez Porky’s a lo­cal in­sti­tu­tion are back at Chez Wings, opened by the Sea­sons ear­lier this month in the same lo­ca­tion as Porky’s, 105 SW Sixth St., Pom­pano Beach.

“They’re back and bet­ter than ever,” says Mike Kotler, of Plan­ta­tion, a reg­u­lar Chez Porky’s cus­tomer who made his way to Chez Wings over the week­end. As his fam­ily ate a heap­ing plat­ter of wings and other dishes from the Ca­jun and Caribbean­in­flu­enced menu, Kotler beamed like a kid who has just found his lost puppy: “I used to work around the cor­ner. It’s nice to see it open again.”

Mukul says he could have used the Porky’s name, but he de­cided to make a break with the past af­ter the bumpy ride that Porky’s has en­dured the last few years. The eatery closed in early 2017 af­ter the pre­vi­ous own­er­ship (which bought the restau­rant from founder Tom Douglas) changed the di­rec­tion to a Texas bar­be­cue joint, briefly call­ing it Porky’s Meat and Greet.

The eatery closed for renovations in early 2017, then fell into bu­reau­cratic limbo as the pre­vi­ous own­ers had build­ing, code and tax is­sues. Work was halted. Sea­son, 49, a busi­ness­man who says he has some ex­pe­ri­ence with pizza fran­chises and whose fa­ther ran a restau­rant in Bangladesh, de­cided to roll the dice and bought the restau­rant. Sea­son ad­dressed the code and tax is­sues, re­mod­eled the restau­rant and hired a for­mer Chez Porky’s chef. The re­vamped din­ing room has wooden ta­bles and chairs, a few booths, mod­ern light­ing fix­tures and framed pic­tures on the walls of food and the New York sky­line (Mukul once lived in New York).

“Peo­ple said I was crazy, that I would never get it open again,” Sea­son says. “But we did it.”

The Sea­sons have recre­ated many of the past menu fa­vorites, in­clud­ing Caribbean co­conut soup, Louisiana shrimp over lin­guine and red beans and rice. Mukul over­sees the kitchen and an­swers phones for take­out or­ders, and Nas­rin works the front of the house and waits ta­bles. Mukul says word of mouth has been build­ing, and that the big­gest chal­lenge has been see­ing cars pull into the front lot, hes­i­tate and back away.

“I go out­side and wave them in,” Mukul says. “I tell them that we’re open and to give us a try.”

I went the other night to try some wings and they did not dis­ap­point. A sam­pler plat­ter of 16 wings with four sauces is avail­able for $14.95 (in vary­ing lev­els of heat), served over a plat­ter of rice for an ex­tra $1.95 (good for ab­sorb­ing those de­li­cious sauces). I had the lemon-gar­lic-but­ter wings with bits of olive and pep­per­onci­nis and the rasp­berry wings. The wings were crispy out­side and still juicy in­side, and the sauces were fine, with the swee­tand-spicy rasp­berry a bit sweeter and more syrupy than I re­mem­ber. It just took a bit more lick­ing to get it off my fin­gers.

Chez Wings has not re­ceived a li­cense to serve beer or wine, but pa­trons are al­lowed to bring their own with no ad­di­tional cost. Our server told us we could go to the con­ve­nience store next door to buy beer if we wanted.

Chez Porky’s opened in

1985, with part­ners Dario Dzia­malek and Douglas at one point ex­pand­ing into a chain with lo­ca­tions in Co­ral Springs, Welling­ton and Pough­keep­sie, N.Y. The wings were named Best in South Florida by Sun Sen­tinel read­ers in 2006. Dzia­malek even­tu­ally left the busi­ness and Douglas sold ear­lier this decade.

Fol­low­ers of the Let’s Eat, South Florida Face­book group are ex­cited to see Chez Wings open. “It’s de­light­ful,” wrote group mem­ber Lin Aasved.

“Go­ing there tonight … and al­ready went two times last week. It’s as good now as [Chez Porky’s] pre­vi­ously was!” wrote group mem­ber Toby Sreb­nik.

“Wow. I never knew they were still around,” wrote Claire Black. “Loved, loved, loved their rasp­berry wings. I will def­i­nitely go.”

Chez Wings & BBQ Restau­rant, 105 SW Sixth St., Pom­pano Beach, 954-586-4431, Face­book.com/ChezWings. Open 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tues­day-Thurs­day, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri­day, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Satur­day, 4:30-9 p.m. Sun­day. Closed Mon­days.

MICHAEL MAYO/SOUTHFLORIDA.COM

Chez Wings in Pom­pano Beach has re­vived many old menu fa­vorites from Chez Porky’s, in­clud­ing rasp­berry wings.

MICHAEL MAYO/SOUTHFLORIDA.COM

Chez Wings in Pom­pano Beach re­cently opened at the same site as pop­u­lar long­time restau­rant Chez Porky’s.

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