mmm-yoso!!! is a foodblog where Kirk and Cathy post about restaurants and recipes and locations of interest to folks in San Diego country and often throughout the world. Today Ed (from Yuma) has a long post that will mostly be of interest to folks in Yuma. You have been warned.
This last year has been tough for Yuma restaurants. Chains like Mimi's and Outback have closed Yuma locations. Local restaurants like The Mad Greek, Spanky's Chophouse, and El Papagallo are shuttered. Countering this trend, Frank's opened in July at the old Nick's Coffee Mill location, a spot that I considered cursed because restaurant after restaurant there has failed over the last 10 or 12 years:
I guess this location is still cursed. At about the same time this post hit the Internet, Frank's closed this location and moved to 1245 Desert Hills Dr - basically just off of Avenue A, at the municipal golf course south of 32nd. This may be the fastest closure following a post in the history of mmm-yoso!!! Makes me feel like a typhoid Mary (or in 2014 parlance, an Ebola Ed). If Frank's sounds good to you, try the new location.
Frank's, however, seems to be a success, the restaurant and the parking lots generally full at breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Most of the booths and a lot of chairs at the front of the restaurant are occupied:
There is a lot to like about Frank's. It is owned and operated by a local family, and almost every time I've been there, Frank himself is watching and supervising. The folks who wait tables are well trained and friendly. When I eat by myself, I am usually called "honey" or "sweetie." Us older gents appreciate that. The prices are also very reasonable, and most folks in Yuma appreciate that.
The restaurant advertises itself as having the "Best Ribs and Fish in Town." So one Friday evening, Tina and I showed up for the ribs and the fish. Friday is all-you-can-eat fish fry ($9.99), and both Tina and I thought the fish platter was good:
The breading was crunchy and stayed on the fillets. But they weren’t overbattered. The fish was moist and clean flavored and tasted fresh. I would order this again happily. In fact, I wish Frank’s would add a cod burger to the sandwich choices. That would be yummy.
The parboiled ribs had been briefly grilled and then covered in sauce. While they were certainly tender and the meat fell off the bone, there was no discernible smoky flavor (in Frank's defense, the menu does not claim that the ribs are barbecued).
Lunches also have been somewhat inconsistent. On my first visit, I ordered the plain burger ($6.99). I loved the fresh and generous toppings – lettuce, tomato, onion slice, and dill pickles – though the french fries were meh:
And I wish Frank's served a better brand of ketchup than First Street, which I find bland and mediocre. Perhaps better ketchup would improve my appreciation of the french fries. Perhaps.
I was impressed by the generous portion and the use of mesclun lettuce, instead of iceberg. Fancy lettuces make the salads here a little special.
In contrast, the club sandwich ($7.25) was a disappointment. I’ve been eating club sandwiches for close to 60 years now, and have fond memories of accompanying my grandmother to Woolworth's or Newberry's (she called them dime stores) for shopping and lunch, which for me was always a club sandwich – roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato arranged on three slices of toast, cut in quarters and arranged around a small scoop of potato salad.
I knew I wouldn't be getting the potato salad, but I was still surprised by this:
The sandwich was buried under a generous portion of french fries. I expected that. The menu had also prepared me for the slice of cheese (cheese?), but the menu had not prepared me for the slices of mediocre ham, which were far more evident than any bacon, and the "oven roasted turkey" had clearly been roasted in an oven hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles away. A really good club sandwich should be focused on the flavors of bacon, real roasted turkey, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Those flavors go together and complement each other. Other stuff is an annoying distraction. Grumble grumble.
Other sandwiches have been more enjoyable. The hot beef sandwich ($7.25) was more than I could eat for lunch. The mashed potatoes were made on premises and were full of nice chunks of potato. There were around six fairly thick slices of beef and at least two slices of white bread. It was all covered with dark brown gravy:
Nonetheless, the "oven roasted beef" was more like a good quality deli beef thickly sliced than real roast beef. The dark brown gravy was dark and brown and not too salty, but generally flavorless, the sort of thing I would expect to find in a jar of "dark brown gravy." Still, for $7.25, it was a steal.
The pastrami was lean and mild, the rye toast flavorful and well seeded, and the sauerkraut warmed up and placed between layers of meat so that it didn't make the bread soggy. There was a definite layer of "swiss" cheese, and a little bit of thousand island dressing. While I would've liked a bit more dressing for the sweet/sour contrast, this wasn't bad at all and well worth the $7.49.
Overall, the breakfasts are probably the most consistent food choices at Frank's – and now Frank's serves breakfast all day long.
Though not ethereal, the biscuits were pretty good and the gravy was nicely flavored and not too thick and pasty. The sausage was decent. Over easy eggs were well cooked though Tina thought they could have been warmer, as if they were plated first, then the sausage patties, and finally the biscuits and gravy.
Notice the numerous fresh mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, diced onions, and bell pepper strips.
On the other hand, my Southwestern omelette ($7.99) was supposed to contain diced green chilies, onions, tomatoes, and Jack cheese, topped with salsa and cheddar, but there really wasn't very much in the omelette – most of the flavor came from the salsa on top:
In other words, check your omelette before eating.
Reading over this post, I realize I have been a bit picky about some things. It's my curse to get weird about stuff like packaged jellies and club sandwiches. But I don't want to convey the notion that I have not had a good time at Frank's and have not enjoyed the food. Frank's is a value restaurant, not a gourmet restaurant. For the quality of the food and the excellence of the service, the prices are incredibly cheap. Some of the best restaurant deals in town.
On top of that, the last time I was paying the check, the cashier handed me back more money than I expected. "Why am I getting cash back?" "Oh, hon,”she said, waving her hand at me, "you get the senior discount." "I didn't know you guys had a senior discount." "We do now, so you be sure to tell all your friends."
I think I just did.
Frank's Family Dining, 2951 S. 4th Ave., Yuma, AZ 85364, (928) 276-4950. 1245 Desert Hills Dr.