The Restaurant Formerly Known as Ferneau's is now 21, its new awning declares. Which made us wonder: Why change the name of a successful restaurant?
Because the new owner, Frank Fletcher, wanted to name the restaurant after his racehorse that won the Breeder's Cup last fall. That horse was Rocket 21, and if you look carefully at the awning, you'll see a horse's face with the word Rocket above it. So, according to co-owner Tom Roy, the real name of The Restaurant Formerly Known as Ferneau is Rocket 21.
No one is calling it that, and the restaurant's courtesy car door omits the Rocket name from its logo. Donnie Ferneau is still chef at Ferneau, and that fact is also spelled out on the awning.
Roy said he called the famed 21 in New York City to see if there was a problem with naming the Arkansas restaurant Rocket 21 and was told there was none. Interestingly, the famous wrought iron gates at the entrance to New York's 21 (at 21 W. 52nd St.) are lined with jockeys, gifts from the owners of horse farms. Coincidence?