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Cowboy Chicken, the Dallas-born chain known for its wood-fired rotisserie chicken and handmade side dishes, will open its 18th — and first Florida — location in the Promenade at Sunset Walk, located next to the Margaritaville Resort.
The restaurant, located at 8118 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee, is one of four franchises scheduled to open in the Orlando area. It is expected to open in mid-2022.
The restaurants are being franchised by Florida Fine Foods LLC, which is owned by food industry veterans Jenny and Paul Bellanca.
Paul Bellanca said they weren’t looking to buy a new franchise but were sold on Cowboy Chicken after eating at one of its restaurants in McDonough, Georgia.
The Bellancas had previously owned and operated six successful Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchises in the greater Orlando area — they delivered to more than 225 grocery stores in the state — until they were bought out by the Krispy Kreme corporation.
Patrons will be able to see a wall of wood-fired ovens cooking the rotisserie chickens before they even walk in the door, Bellanca said.
The Bellancas have roots in Georgia — he lived in Atlanta; she was a student at Georgia State — so it’s fitting that is where they first tasted Cowboy Chicken and liked it so much, they decided to bring the brand to Florida.
They hope to eventually expand toward Tampa and also toward their home in Ormond Beach. And, while their first location at the Promenade won’t have a drive-thru, Bellanca said that is what they will be looking for in future properties.
According to Cowboy Chicken’s website, the chain was founded in 1981 in Dallas by “Cowboy Phil” Sanders, who had a passion for old Western movies and its cowboys that found happiness in simple things. He and his wife, Jeanette, perfected in their backyard the wood-fired chicken for which the chain is known.
In 40 years, the chain has grown to 17 locations, 13 in Texas; two in Oklahoma; one in Louisiana and one in Georgia.