By Scott Levine
CLINTON — Area residents have officially set their taste buds to a new flavor.
Equipped with his trademark clock, Public Enemy group member and reality TV star Flavor Flav joined citizens, city officials and media for Flav’s Fried Chicken’s grand opening ceremony Monday.
Once the event completed, the restaurant opened at 4 p.m. and people lined up outside the building for hours to taste Flav’s fried-chicken recipe. Flav, who has been in Clinton since Thursday, said this experience is overwhelming.
“I just want to bring something good to your neighborhood,” Flav said to the crowd during the ribbon cutting. “I feel that this could be a good entity to the neighborhood.
“Plus, I’m trying to start a franchise, so this is the beginning of it. And I just want to say that you guys are a part of it.”
After meeting with several Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and other city leaders, Flav joined co-owner Nick Cimino and his family to cut the ribbon, starting the inaugural FFC.
Clinton Mayor Rodger Holm said the restaurant’s opening is good news for the city.
“My first thought was to reality TV,” Holm said when he first heard that FFC would land in Clinton. “But I didn’t realize he had a chicken place. Anything positive that happens to the city is for the better, and this gives Clinton a positive image.”
Chamber President Julie Allesee shared in Holm’s excitement, and as a first-time restaurant owner, Flav might have a few more resources than other people who start up businesses, Allesee said.
“(Flav) comes in with a better cash flow than others,” Allesee said. “However, putting a business plan together for the first time is a lot of work. You have to be there and provide good service.”
The idea for FFC started with the Cimino family, and Flav made sure to thank the entire crew, especially Nick and his mother, Dominica Cimino, better known as Mama Cimino.
FFC took shape at Mama Cimino’s in Last Vegas, after Flav started selling 99-cent wings at the restaurant. Once Nick saw what Flav was doing, he bought a building, 916 N. Second St., which is next door to Clinton’s Mama Cimino’s, and completed most of the renovations.
“All of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for (Dominica),” Flav said . “If she didn’t bring (Nick) into the world, none of this would have happened. So Mama, your womb was blessed with the best.”
Dominica said Flav has become part of the Cimino family.
“He’s one of my boys,” Dominica said. “He’s really friendly with everybody. He’s down to earth and treats people nice. That’s what I like about him.”
Flav completed the ceremony by entering the kitchen and showcasing his culinary skills. Flav owns a culinary degree and has past cooking experience.
Once finished with the cooking, Flav grabbed a pair of tongs and handed out his restaurant’s staple, fried chicken, to the customers, while also throwing out a few jabs to Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is housed next door.
“I’m not scared to go against the colonel taste wise,” Flav said about KFC’s notable figurine. “Business wise, he’s got me, because he’s been here longer. But I’m about to catch up to the colonel.”
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