Ever since Kentucky Fried Chicken closed its Solano Square location in 2016 after more than four decades of operation, residents have fervently wondered what would go in its place. That question was answered last week when Sprankle’s Village Deli announced via its Facebook page that the restaurant would be moving into that space in early 2018.
Sprankle’s opened in 2012 in the space of another former longtime Solano Square restaurant, Village Deli. Owner Chantel Sprankle said it started off with a really small staff of four employees, but it has since blossomed to 14 people serving a growing influx of customers coming in during the lunch hour to dine on sandwiches, salads and soups.
In fact, business has done so well that Sprankle saw a need to move.
“We’ve outgrown our little place here at 82 Solano Square,” she said. “The dining room gets really crowded at lunchtime, and I just want it to be more comfortable for our customers.”
She settled on the shuttered KFC as the new spot for Sprankle’s. The fast-food giant’s Benicia location closed in August of 2016 after opting not to renew its lease, according to a post on the city of Benicia’s Facebook page. A Mexican restaurant was set to go in its place, but the applicants backed out after problems with the drive-thru. Sprankle said this would not be an issue, as her restaurant would not be utilizing the former drive-thru.
“I don’t want to be fast food,” she said.
Additionally, Sprankle said the new location would have a full kitchen, enabling the restaurant to expand its hours and add a breakfast and dinner menu, something the current location does not have. Sprankle said the familiar lunch menu will remain the same, the breakfast menu will likely consist of items like breakfast sandwiches and French toast, and the dinner menu would feature burgers, fish and chips, chicken as well as nightly specials. It would also add Sundays to its days of operation.
Sprankle said changes to the new building would be minimal. The outside of the building— which has been painted gray ever since the KFC closed— will be repainted, the roof will be fixed and outdoor seating would potentially become available, but not right away. One advantage of the new space, Sprankle said, is 16 parking spaces.
“There’s plenty of space for everybody to park,” she said.
Sprankle is hoping for the deli’s new location to begin business in mid-February. The staff will have to meet with the Health Department, get the place cleaned up and bring in new equipment. She said the city has been very helpful throughout the process, and the community has been very supportive.
“Everybody’s been very positive within the community,” she said. “It’s been wonderful.”
“We just appreciate the community so much,” she added.
For more information on the restaurant, go to spranklesdeli.com or follow its Facebook page at facebook.com/sprankles.deli.