DUNEDIN — Frenchy's, the familiar restaurant chain on Clearwater Beach, has expanded its empire to Dunedin.
The 30-year-old company opened its newest location — dubbed Frenchy's Outpost Bar and Grill — at 5 p.m. Wednesday, one day after inking a deal to assume ownership of the former Island Outpost restaurant at 466 Causeway Blvd.
Frenchy's spokeswoman Jen Carlisle said that by the time renovations slated for this fall are complete, the restaurant will boast a bright, beach-themed decor that is "completely Frenchy's" yet retains Island Outpost's open-air, Key West feel.
"It will still very much encompass that casual beach vibe," she said, "but it will be uniquely Dunedin — dog friendly, community minded."
The new eatery represents owner Michael Preston's first venture outside of Clearwater Beach, where four Frenchy's are located within a mile of one another.
But it won't be his last.
Carlisle said Preston, whose classmates nicknamed him "Frenchy" in honor of his bilingual French-Canadian upbringing, and restaurateur Dan Shouvlin plan to open the Clear Sky Draught Haus on downtown Dunedin's Main Street in September.
Modeled on the Clear Sky Beachside Cafe in Clearwater, Dunedin's version will feature the craft beers, local brews and appetizers reminiscent of gastropubs popular in places like Chicago and New York City.
Preston said in a statement that the Dunedin Frenchy's is the result of excellent timing and a location too good to pass up. The causeway leads to Honeymoon Island State Park.
The most recent Frenchy's to open was the South Beach Cafe at 351 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach, in 2003. Carlisle said no other locations are currently planned.
Like Frenchy's Rockaway and South Beach locations, officials said, the Dunedin spot will at least occasionally feature live bands.
And fans of Island Outpost favorites like the pulled pork nachos needn't worry.
Keeping with the Frenchy's tradition of customized menus at each location, the Dunedin site will continue to carry many of the same menu items as its predecessor and will slowly introduce signature Frenchy's items, Carlisle said. That includes five variations of grouper sandwich, she crab soup and smoked fish spread, which will be added this week.
"Right now, we're getting a feel for what customers like," Frenchy's controller Pam Ball said. "We've already gotten some feedback on Facebook."
The restaurant had gained nearly 2,000 Facebook fans by Friday evening.
Meanwhile, former Island Outpost owner Paul Kalli has moved operations to a new location called Island Breeze, 1750 Clearwater/Largo Road in Clearwater. Kalli says the casual eatery opened two months ago, around the same time Frenchy's approached Island Outpost about purchasing the Dunedin property.
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