Tony Franks closes its doors after 86 years in business
After nearly a century of business, a local tavern had to shut its doors.
Tony Frank’s Tavern was open for 86 years, but owner Jim Frank said money problems mostly caused by nearby construction forced him to close. He tried to keep his business alive by selling his home and car, but he could no longer keep the business open.
“We have a great clientele as it is. It’s just I accumulated so much debt from this project out here that I can’t carry forward anymore,” he said.
The bar has been a big part of Frank’s life for a long time.
“I started working here really in eighth grade cleaning the bar before school. I’d have a couple of cheeseburgers at the end of my shift and a couple of Blatz’s beers and go on to eighth grade,” he said.
Frank said his customers are also affected by the closure.
“They’re sad,” he said. “They’re hoping I can implement my new business plan and go forward from there.”
Frank said he’s optimistic he will find investors so he can reopen in July, with a new emphasis on families. He hopes to add an ice cream parlor and change the name to Tony Frank’s Family Tavern.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do — hamburgers, fries and a shake — how American,” he said.
Frank said his employees and customers have become family over the years.
“This place was filled with love and laughter for decades and decades, and I’m looking forward to reopening and reestablishing that,” Frank said.
But regardless of what happens to Tony Frank’s Tavern, Frank is happy to have so many memories.
“(The tavern) means everything. I’ve been so fortunate to be part of a great business, a great neighborhood tavern. I have so many close friends and customers that go back decades,” he said. “No matter what happens now, that will be with me for the rest of my life. So I consider myself very fortunate.”