In all honesty, it'd be nearly impossible for me not to love Frank. Downtown Austin, impeccably cool, chicago dogs, black cherry soda, killer espresso, and a full bar. Seriously, if I were nodding off, drooling, into an afternoon daydream of food, this is what would be in it.
Frank is in the space that used to house Gilligans, and then Crimson, and then Starlight. It's kind of a strange space for a restaurant, long and exceptionally narrow, but it's light and airy, with a nice view of downtown for the first floor, and it's right in the heart of everything. They've done a fantastic job with it - keeping the rustic old brick wall and adding a ton of warm dark wood. It's comfy and casual (jam jar waterglasses), but completely intentionally done down to the tiniest detail (the best ceiling fan in existence).
The menu centers around, well, franks, and these are taken to their logical conclusion - local, house made sausage; truly transcendental hot dogs. Among a whole range of options including some pretty outrageous combinations are 100% authentic no-screwing around Chicago dogs. There are other things I would like to try, but this time, it was all about the Chicago. And it was perfect, sport peppers and all.
Waffle Fries are another staple here, fresh cut, skins on, with pepper and kosher salt. There's another dozen options for stuff you can have delivered on them, and a bundle of dipping sauces. We had the waffle fries au natural and tried the buffalo blue, bacon buttermilk, and the horseradish sauce. Buffalo was not my thing, but the other two simply rocked. Something awesome about horseradish, cream and salty potato.
There are a dozen other things to eat. I plan on eating them all, even if I have to singlehandedly keep this place afloat (I won't, it was pretty packed even early).
On the way out, I looked up to see a gleaming La Marzocco FB/80 espresso machine, bags of Intelligentsia beans, and a 3rd place trophy from the 2010 Southwestern Barista Jam. Just to put this in context, restaurants NEVER place in these competitions. Ever. So I stopped and tossed back a rich, velvety macchiatto, on par with any I've had anywhere save maybe Victrola in Seattle.
Quibbles: for a place with cold beer in the URL, it'd be nice if there were a few more options on tap. And there was a little "store" that was out of, well, everything. Details. This place is truly one of the best places on the planet, and I plan to return. Often.