POSTED ON APRIL 16, 2008:
Quality in Numbers
For 20 years, owner satisfies customers with plenty of homemade options
Can't Go Wrong. Frank's is one of my favorite types of places when I'm seeking a good, homecooked meal. It's a simple, no-frills place with friendly service and good prices.
Since 1986, Frank's Café in east Tulsa has been preparing homecooked breakfasts and lunches to the delight of many hungry Tulsans. Owner and manager Fawaz "Frank" Alchami has been in America now for more than 25 years and most of those years have been spent operating this very popular and successful cafe
Frank's is one of my favorite types of places when I'm seeking a good, homecooked meal. It's a simple, no-frills place with friendly service and good prices. Frank is rightly proud of his restaurant, commenting that he has already gone through a renovation to enlarge the dining space, which now houses a popular lunch special, the buffet. "Our lunch buffet is very popular and it has some of our most popular foods," he explained. From Monday to Friday for $6.89 diners can parade alongside the buffet stations and fill up on meats, vegetables, salads and desserts. "Each day we have fish, chicken and steak on the buffet. Also, we serve about 10 meat items on the buffet each day," Frank said. "We have chicken and steak kabobs each day." Fish is also served fried on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Wednesday, the buffet goes Italian, including ricotta cheese-stuffed fish, which Frank said is very popular with the patrons.
"All our food is homemade," Frank said, adding that they take special pride that even the chicken fried steak is "hand breaded." He said all this individual attention to each dish is very time consuming, but "worth it."
A very good friend and I dined here recently for lunch, hoping to catch up after months of not seeing each other. We spent a full hour-and-a-half eating and nibbling on foods from the buffet, enjoying our time together.
The buffet was filled with more dishes than I could even imagine tasting even in small amounts, yet I gave it a good try. I filled my plate with modest portions of beef kabob, steak, mashed potatoes and rich brown gravy, stuffing/dressing, Caesar salad, tabouli, Jimmy's casserole (a tomato-based Italian-style casserole with pasta, meatballs, ricotta cheese and more than ample oregano), and chicken noodle soup (a hearty, thick soup with lots of chicken, carrots, peas, celery and corkscrew pasta). When we returned to our table, large, homemade yeast dinner rolls were waiting for us.
My friend and I enjoyed this very filling lunch, eating more than our bodies really needed. Favorites emerged with our sampling; we both thoroughly enjoyed the chicken noodle soup, a homemade soup that is so popular it is made every day. In fact, two homemade soups are available daily. Others during the week include tomato, cabbage, lentil and split pea. I really delighted in the beef and steak--both were extremely tender and very well seasoned. The mashed potatoes and gravy were excellent as well and the potatoes were real potatoes. No instant spuds here, according to Frank. I could tell immediately they were real. The stuffing was flavorful, but a bit too thin in texture for my liking. My friend particularly enjoyed the Caesar salad and Jimmy's Casserole. The rolls were good, but we both found them to be a little dry.
Desserts included strawberry bundt cake and banana pudding--no pies were available this day. Both desserts were good, old-fashioned selections reminding us of meals at home growing up. Frank said his cinnamon rolls are "famous," and I did take one home for later. It was a good version of the classic sweet--stately in stature, moist, with just enough cinnamon and sweetness in the bread and in the icing, which had melted over the roll.
All items are numbered, and besides the buffet, Frank said the Healthy Choice Specials, Frank's Specials and the breakfasts (beginning at 6am) are very popular. The Healthy Choices numbers 13, 14 and 15 and include Beef Shish-Kabob, Chicken Shish-Kabob and Grilled Fish (7-ounce catfish). Frank's Specials, numbers 10-12, include Stir-Fry Shrimp, Stir-Fry Beef and Stir-Fry Chicken. These specials are served with fresh mushrooms, celery, onion and green peppers and placed on a bed of rice with brown gravy on the side and include garlic toast or a homemade dinner roll.
Originally from Syria, Frank lets the influences from his homeland find their way into the menu in a variety of well-known dishes, such as tabouli, hummus and cabbage rolls (served on Tuesdays).
Breakfasts include Hot Cakes, Three Egg Omelettes and traditional breakfasts, served with a choice of hash browns or grits, and biscuits and gravy or toast.
Frank also prepares homemade chicken sausage. "We make our own sausage out of boneless, skinless chicken which is very popular. We even sell it by the pound to customers," he said.
Giving back to the community is also high on Frank's list. He said for many years now he has distributed up to 100 meals every month for those who have lost their jobs. "I have had very good support from the Tulsa community," said Frank, "and this is one way I can give back."
Frank's Café is open Monday through Saturday, reserving Sunday as "family day," Frank said. "I have six children at home, ages 5-17, and I have Sunday reserved for them."
5451 S. Mingo
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