Purple Poulet to open new location in Newport Thursday

Photo courtesy of Purple Poulet

After being closed due to the pandemic in August 2021, Purple Poulet’s much-anticipated reopening is now scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 17.

The restaurant will be taking a soft opening approach Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. They will return to regular hours Tuesday through Saturday next week from 5 p.m. until close. They’ll be closed Sunday and Monday.

Owner Richard Zumwalde said the pandemic hit the business hard.

“We were allowed to reopen with a lot of restrictions on the capacity; one time it was 50%, another time at 33%, 25% back and forth several different times,” Zumwalde said. “With the location that we had and the few tables we had, it just made it very hard for us to operate.”

During the summer last year, so many people were interested in outdoor dining that Purple Poulet had to explore alternative locations.

“The time has come that we needed to find a spot where we can have more tables and hopefully maybe spread out in a variety of rooms,” Zumwalde said. “That way, if we ever go through something like this again, then we can have tables and separate rooms. A lot more space to spread out. Plus, we’re going to have outdoor dining, which we didn’t have before.”

Purple Poulet’s new location will hold double the capacity of its old location. The first floor of the building will be about the same size as their building in Dayton, but there are four rooms on the second floor of the new space for more tables. Both floors combined can accommodate about 50 guests.

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The Newport location was supposed to be open back in September 2021 but was delayed due to shipping issues of a few key elements to the reopening.

“It’s been one delay after another waiting on a variety of different things; just for an example, we had some booths made for the first-floor dining room, and we ordered them late spring-early summer, and they were supposed to be there in September. They didn’t get there till Christmastime,” Zumwalde said. “I kind of suspected that we wouldn’t make September, but I really thought we’d be open by the first of November, Zumwalde said. “And I really thought we’d be open by the first of December for the Christmas season. But unfortunately, none of that happened. So here we are.”

The new location is in the old Green Derby restaurant. The building has been completely renovated.

“I feel that our whole atmosphere inside will be a little warmer, a little brighter than what the other location was just by the colors that we use, and it also has more of a historical look to it,” Zumwalde said. “Just as an example, when the renovation was being done to the building, and they were gutting the inside out. They pulled out the old false ceiling in there. They found the old tin ceiling up in there, so that’s been restored. We were able to find some old antique mantels to put where the fireplace used to be. It has much more of a historical feel to it.”

The menu has stayed the same, save for a few changes with appetizers and four new entrees for people to try. Their best selling menu item and what Southern Living Magazine called the best fried chicken in the state of Kentucky will return. During the pandemic last year, the menu was scaled back. Zumwalde said it has now returned to the size it was two years ago. 

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If you’re looking to check out the new space and try some new menu items, Zumwalde said reservations are not required but are highly recommended.