What’s the story behind the new fish and chips shop in the place of the old Woodland Chinese restaurant?
Fresh Kenny’s, the new restaurant at 1-187 Kenneth Street, is named for the fresh-cut Kennebec potatoes that owner and cook Curtis Flynn makes into delicious fries to serve alongside fish, burgers, Baja-style tacos, popcorn shrimp, clam strips, and more.
Fresh Kenny’s opened in late May of this year and has quickly become a go-to for affordable and tasty casual dining.
Curtis explains that his commitment to affordable pricing is inspired by his mother.
“My mum was a teacher so she always looked at things like how to be able to feed a family of four for $25. I want to make the parents happy - then the kids are going to come and in ten years those kids will be still coming.”
Curtis says his many years of experience working in kitchens, including venerable Downtown Duncan institutions Just Jakes and Craig Street Brewery, prepared him for the rigors of running his own restaurant.
He credits Lance and Liz Steward, owners of the Just Jakes family of businesses, for acting as mentors and inspiration to him.
“To know that they’ve gotten through the struggle [of the early days] and they’ve put themselves in the long game to succeed -- it keeps me going as well,” Curtis notes.
Curtis enjoys operating Fresh Kenny’s largely on his own – he does everything from the initial concept and branding design to the operational tasks of ordering, shopping, cooking, scheduling, and bookkeeping.
“I’m a one-man show,” he acknowledges. He has even slept in his shop sometimes!
Thankfully he likes the freedom he has to steer his own ship - and he likes to be a part of the action, which is why he decided to locate his shop in downtown Duncan. Now his own shop is just down the street from Nha Trang, his favourite place to eat aside from his own kitchen.
Curtis works hard to keep Fresh Kenny’s continuously improving and always growing. The small touches he has added to the space highlight his concern for a good customer experience all around. He has put up paintings by Kristin Smart, and lines books up along the windowsill - everything from the Jungle Book to a history of Canada.
Given his aspiration to continually grow his business, he is renovating a room in the back of his property which will be available soon to rent for events and meetings and will have a capacity of approximately 50 people. A landscaped outdoor space featuring a fireplace is also in the works and promises to be a beautiful spot for intimate gatherings.
In addition to the restaurant, Fresh Kenny’s also does catering and this side of the business is getting busier all the time. The shop is also licensed so you can get a Caesar, gin and juice, beer, wine, and more.
If you haven’t already, stop by Fresh Kenny's for a Po'Boy, deep fried Mars Bar, or a taco – you won’t be sorry!
Be sure to check out the Cowichan Valley Voice for a special deal with a coupon too.