At Frank’s, the food is a little classier than at your average hot dog joint.
Don’t get us wrong — you can still get a classic Chicago-style dog, burgers, fries and basic milkshakes.
But if your palate is a bit more adventurous, Frank’s Night Out has some treats in store for you, too.
Chef Marcus Mooney, who opened the Route 59 business last February, said he was checking out a Patch article titled “21 Weird Foods You’ll Serve in 2014” when he realized he was already ahead of the curve.
Frank’s, 12337 S. Route 59, is already serving up some of the out-of-the-ordinary fare mentioned in the article — namely the donut sandwich.
Frank’s offers a Krispy Kreme burger with fresh ground beef, Merkts cheese, a fried egg and bacon, served atop a lightly grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut “bun.”
The restaurant offers the Krispy Kreme burger every other week.
“It’s extremely popular,” Mooney said, adding diners are surprised how well the flavors work together. “I’ve always been a big fan of sweet and savory.”
The restaurant offers specials, which change frequently. Fans can check out Frank's Facebook page to stay up to date with what's new.
“The menu keeps evolving,” he said. Mooney, who’s been a chef for more than 20 years, said he gets inspiration from places he’s worked in the past, as well as suggestions from patrons.
“Frank’s fans give us recommendations,” he said. “If they sell, we put them on the menu and we run [the special] until they run out.”
The hot dog menu alone has doubled in size since last year, said Mooney.
The milkshake menu has also expanded, with the help of suggestions from diners. You can still get the classic chocolate, strawberry and vanilla shakes, but there are also options like the S’mores shake, Nutella banana pretzel shake and even a shake featuring bacon.
“We started with six [shakes], and now there’s 18,” Mooney said.
The ever-growing menu means a trip to the store every morning for Mooney, who works to make sure all the ingredients are fresh and, when possible, locally sourced. Buying from local farmers is a bit easier in the summer, he noted, especially with the Keller’s Farmstand vendor situated in the parking lot during the week.
Mooney said the best-selling hot dog is the musically named Notorious P.I.G.
The dish features a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with pulled pork, mac and cheese and jalapenos.
Another big seller? The Memphis Madness dog, which also comes wrapped with bacon and topped with peanut butter and jalapenos. Mooney said patrons often get it on a dare from friends, only to find that the flavors blend incredibly well.
“They’re always amazed by how the flavors come together,” he said.
When he launched Frank’s last winter, Mooney said the concept for the restaurant was to take hot dogs to the next level and offer a fine-dining experience.
That concept will come full circle for Valentine’s Day, when Mooney plans to offer a surf and turf dog.
“It’s adding a fine-dining experience to a simple item like a hot dog,” he said. “We’re going to take it a bit farther,” building upon a Vienna beef hot dog and adding heirloom tomatoes, arugula, lobster and hollandaise sauce.
Happy birthday to Frank’s
Mooney said he plans to offer specials to coincide with Frank’s first anniversary on Feb. 1, so watch the restaurant’s Facebook page for updates.
Mooney said opening his own restaurant has been a great learning experience.
“We literally started the business by opening the doors,” he said. “It’s been a cool experience, and Plainfield has been amazing with the support.”