Six months ago, I was living a blissfully comfortable life in one of the quaintest towns in the United States, Charlottesville, Virginia. I drove the same roads I'd driven since the day I got my driver's license, the same roads that my parents drove before that. I owned a house and a nice car, had a large group of close and loyal friends, and a "dream" job as a sports broadcaster.
Sometimes, now, I still have to shake my head and consider the whirlwind that has followed, culminating in my packing up my life, selling my house, car, and cat, and flying for thirty hours to join my friend Nate Dotson to help open a bar, "Frankie's", in Shenzhen Freaking China.
Without going through the whole sordid tale here, I will say this: one of my absolute favorite things about this city and this country is the fact that everyone has a story. In Charlottesville, people (like me) would happily live their lives without ever leaving, because, well, it's where they were from, and it's a pretty great town. In SZ, every foreigner in this city---everyone---is here for a reason; either because of something they've accomplished, or because of some spectacular act of courage. This ain't an easy place. I am automatically impressed with everyone I meet here, even before actually "meeting" them, because just surviving here as an outsider takes a lot of patience, work, and achievement.
That's what I want Frankie's to be---not a "refuge" from China (let's be honest, I kind of love this place), but a place where people from all over the world can relax, unwind, and trade war stories. We aren't in the Coco Park strip or in any "party" district where you'll be dodging kids playing dice games---all we want to be is a damn good bar with cold beer, REAL liquor, and food that tastes like it came from the best backyard barbecue you've ever seen.
Every night after ten, you can find Nate and I behind the bar or on the floor talking and drinking with the customers, and hearing their stories. Before ten, you'll find me living out a longtime dream and running the kitchen. We are determined to do the food right---we don't buy ground beef, we buy fresh beef and get it ground each day for us. We make our sauces here. Everything is cooked to order. I get pissed off when I see a menu (Sichuan restaurants notwithstanding) that is more than two pages long---I don't want to know how long that tuna on page seven has been in the fridge. We believe in doing just a few things, and doing them right. As of now, our menu has six items, plus a burger of the week. That's it. But I'll stand behind everything that we send out from the kitchen, just as Nate stands behind our drinks, and Hoss (our brewer) will stand behind the locally-made handcrafted pale ale that we pour.
And, speaking of the burger of the week, today we'll wrap up our first week with a fully operating kitchen and sell our last Green Eggs and Hamburger (with fresh pesto, a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion, and sriracha), and tomorrow we'll debut the Blue Cheese Barbecue Burger---a barbecue-glazed hamburger with, yes, blue cheese, along with crispy onion straws, bacon, and a thick-cut tomato slice.
Come in and give us a try. Would love to see you here and hear your story.