Jan 14, 2019

Feeling right at home at Frankie’s Pub & Grill, Sheboygan, Wis.

We begin 2019 with a return to the Sheboygan Series of blog posts and the place I connected with most during my time working in Sheboygan, Wis.  Between the low-key neighborhood atmosphere, the friendly regulars who remembered me on subsequent visits, the well-made and affordable drinks, the vast beer selection, the welcoming and knowledgeable bartenders, and a good variety of delicious pub grub, Frankie’s Pub & Grill provided everything to make me feel like I had a home away from home. 

Located near the edge of the city limits on Indiana Avenue (a lot of east-west streets in Sheboygan are named after states), Frankie’s Pub & Grill looks on the outside like just another average local pub that every neighborhood in town seems to have.  But what brought me here over other similar places was a highly rated menu based on online reviews, a better than average selection of craft beers and proximity to where I was staying.   

Even from the first visit, I often found solace seated at the bar (shocking, I know) where I would share some small talk with Frankie’s patrons while winding down with a pre-meal beverage.  The reviews were right … the beer choices at Frankie’s are abundant …

… and selecting one is made even more challenging by watching the pages of beer selections slowly pass by on the big screen TV above the center of the bar.  When in doubt, I stayed in state with a Spotted Cow from New Glarus, the newest offering from Sheboygan’s own 3 Sheeps Brewing Company or something from another nearby Wisconsin brewer.

As good as the beers were, the Old Fashioneds were that much better.  The skilled bartenders at Frankie’s Pub & Grill seemed genuinely interested in making a quality drink for you, and each one liked to brag about his or her version.  With a little experimentation, I found I tended to like mine with an excellent pour of bourbon, a little on the sweet side and a sour or savory garnish to balance out the drink (e.g., pickled brussels sprouts or mushrooms). 

Now, about the food … if you paid close attention to the picture of the entrance to Frankie’s, you saw a sign that promoted its fish fry.  Ironically, I don’t think I ever actually saw anyone order the fish there.  That’s probably because Frankie’s reputation is based on its broasted chicken and its burgers. 

And with good reason.  You’re looking at four pieces of a 30-year old recipe that, frankly (pun not intended) is hard to beat.  Super crispy on the outside, super moist on the inside.  A generous portion of broasted red potatoes and cole slaw round out the meal.  And if you’ve never had broasted potatoes before, you’re in for a treat.  Much like the chicken, the process makes each potato wedge wonderfully crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.  And all this food will only set you back around $7.  It’s no wonder why the broasted chicken is the centerpiece of Frankie’s menu, and why they sell so much of it.

Now, if I’ve sold you on the broasted chicken, you’ll want to come back for one of Frankie’s equally legendary burgers.  Locally famous for both their size and deliciousness, each one starts with a 12-ounce angus beef patty and ends dressed and wedged inside the one of largest Sheboygan hard rolls they can find to serve as a bun. 

If that’s not enough for you, Frankie’s has a food challenge for you – a five-and-a-half-pound quadruple bacon cheeseburger.  Finish it in 45 minutes on your own, and it’s free.  I only saw one ordered, and it wasn’t even for the challenge – it was shared among a group of four guys who together couldn’t polish it off (the order of fries they shared may have been their undoing, though).  

Of course, they have a nice selection of specialty burgers to choose from if you want to go beyond the basic hamburger without busting your belly.  Perhaps my favorite was the bleu eyes burger – dressed with bleu cheese crumbles, applewood-smoked bacon and lettuce.  By the time it’s put together inside the Sheboygan hard roll, it’s so tall they serve it with a steak knife protruding out to help you portion it up.     

The flavor of every burger at Frankie’s is exceptional, of course, but even with my gluttonous appetite, I could never finish one.   

Aside from the fine food and drink at Frankie’s, what I enjoyed most was the laid-back scene and the people.  I came less than once a week the whole time I was working in Sheboygan, but if I missed a week, it seemed like it was noticed.  And maybe that feeling of being welcomed helped make the food and drink taste even better.  If you’re in Sheboygan and want to find a home away from home, take Indiana Street west from downtown, and don’t stop until you get to Frankie’s Pub & Grill.

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