Catering enterprise builds on brand again with Franky and Annette’s


Lexington, KY – The brand name Annette’s has been marked by slow and steady growth in the Lexington foodservice arena over the past eight years. This burgeoning enterprise (www.annettescatering.com), which includes Annette’s City CafÈ & Event Center, Annette’s Catering, Annette’s Casual CafÈ and Bakery and a small satellite operation in the Corporate Center complex, is taking on another opportunity with the opening of Franky and Annette’s Resort Style Restaurant at The Signature Club of Lansdowne (www.signatureclub.org). This new venture is the latest in a journey that started many years ago for Annette Jett and her husband, Frank Bickel, who are both natives of Lexington.

Jett is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in restaurant management, and she later obtained an MBA in marketing. She began her career with Club Corp and worked in the City Club in Washington, D.C., and at the Metropolitan Club in Chicago. She returned to Lexington in 2000 and opened her Lexington catering business in 2001.

Bickel attended the University of Kentucky and spent much of his career in the Los Angeles area in the foodservice and catering business. His clients ranged from small private parties to larger, premiere-types of events. It was through these experiences that he honed his skills on creating the appropriate atmospheres for varying event themes and venues. Frank returned to Lexington, and he and Annette married approximately three years ago.

When the Signature Club opportunity presented itself, it gave them an opportunity to combine both their experience and skills into a completely new endeavor. A recent zoning change specific to this venue will allow the Signature Club’s restaurant to be open to the public, and this enhances the business potential of the venture. This is a nice example of the local government making common sense changes to help local business. Franky and Annette’s, which will be taking over the restaurant, concessions and Tiki Bar operation, will have a casual beach resort look and feel. For those who remember the beach party movies of the ’60s, you will probably pick up on the name, which is a reference to Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, who starred in many of those fun films.

If you like beaches, resorts and the like, you will immediately take to the menu. Appetizers include pecan chicken bites, grilled veggies, fried banana peppers and calamari rings, coconut shrimp with tropical salsa, beach bum beer quesadilla and fresh selections from a raw bar.

The salad line-up includes items such as mixed greens salad, blue cheese wedge, Caribbean Caesar salad with either jerk chicken or jerk shrimp, lobster salad and an item called “Lexington’s Best,” which has Kentucky Bibb lettuce with candied pecans, blue cheese, Mandarin oranges and their own bourbon-citrus vinaigrette.

Entrees include pasta dishes such as pasta primavera, with the option to add chicken, sea lovers pasta marinara, and a Capri pasta del mar (pasta with fresh catch of the day). There are three “land dweller” entrees, with Malibu chicken or pork medallions, Mediterranean beef tenderloin, and the old standby New York strip, topped with MaÓtre d’HÙtel butter. Seafood entrÈes include Franky’s fish and chips, grilled shrimp mojito, sea scallops, East Coast crab cakes and the fresh catch of the day. These items come with choices of eight different sides.

There is also a nice lunch menu with plenty of variety. One item of note is the Baja fish tacos entree, which, in the opinion of many, is the ultimate beach food. The recipe they use stays true to the authentic roots of the item’s origin in the Baja region of Mexico. Other lunch items include a Bic’s burger, New England clam roll (another authentic coastal food example), beach club sandwich, Jamaican jerk chicken, sweet Carolina BBQ, crab cake sandwich, Annette’s signature chicken salad or pimiento cheese, seafood hot brown, and the “California Dreaming” salad bar. There will also be daily soup, quiche and entrÈe specials.

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