Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er
Frank N Fries finds home in Long Beach community
New gourmet hot dog stand thrives aside an era of gentrification.
Nearly a year before its grand opening, Long Beach’s gourmet hot dog eatery Frank n Fries had already built a cult following and become one of the most talked about openings in Long Beach. Their secret? A banner displaying their business name and logo along with the words “coming soon.”
“It was our low-budget marketing plan, and it worked,” said Tim Franken, co-founder of the establishment.
At first glance, the shack formerly known as local torta stop Sliced and Diced may not look like much. It is only upon walking up to the business that one begins to see the custom detailing and labor put in by the two brothers, a feat they take pride in. Customers order through a window and are encouraged to stand at a bar-style table to enjoy their food.
After seven months of designing, planning and labor, the Franken brothers turned the location into an eating space which they aimed to make inviting to all. Everything from the bar tables to the indoor and outdoor flooring was custom-made in their warehouse located a few blocks from the business.
“We really built the place to attract people,” Ernie Franken said. “Everything you see we put our hands into, we didn’t pay anyone to do it.”
“Everything we have is good quality, it’s inexpensive,” Tim said. “It’s somewhere you can bring your whole family.
The two young entrepreneurs from New Jersey came up with the vision for Frank n Fries after an opportunity to lease the building on the corner of Anaheim Street and Obispo Avenue became available early last year.
Since opening in early September, Frank n Fries has brought in hoards of locals and hot dog aficionados as people line up daily to try their much-anticipated menu items, which include several varieties of hot dogs, fries, freshly squeezed lemonade and funnel cakes made from scratch. Their commitment to serving quality food to their customers is a practice that both of them brought from their early years working together.
Their business manager, Mike Peluso, attributes their success to giving customers a varied menu while filling a hole in the community for a low cost, authentic and family-style eatery.
“Frank n Fries brings unique speciality hot dogs from all over the map to Long Beach,” Peluso said. “The lack of a solid hotdog spot in Long Beach was evident. We are hoping to bring quality food at reasonable prices to our community and neighbors.”
Along with the vision for success came the potential for error. The worry of being seen as a part of gentrification and the pressure of opening a new business in a developing neighborhood of Long Beach was a welcomed challenge for the two brothers, as they saw it as an opportunity to prove their commitment to the community.
“The people here are still local, this is their home,” Ernie Franken said. “We want them to be able to afford to come and eat here, that’s really what it comes down to. We’re not trying to gentrify and put $10 signs on the hotdogs.”
The Franken brothers believe that the Frank n Fries business model has set them apart from other Long Beach eateries, because it has allowed people from all walks of the world to visit the stand to generate income and business for the Long Beach neighborhood that gave the co-founders their start.
“We tend to make gold out of nothing, it’s one of our specialties,” said Tim. “We’ve been getting a good response too. Poor people, rich people, young people, old people. You can never tell who is going to come to the window.”