Flavors of Chez Porky’s reborn at Chez Wings
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.
Chez Wings in Pompano Beach has revived many old menu favorites from Chez Porky’s, including raspberry wings.
Chez Wings in Pompano Beach recently opened at the same site as popular longtime restaurant Chez Porky’s.