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Filling up with friendly, fast breakfast at Frank's

Staff at longtime diner on Pima & Alvernon still serve affordable, hearty plates
Posted at 9:19 AM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 12:19:02-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) -- — For this visit, you can fill up on an egg breakfast while learning a little more about local history. Many regulars have been adding to that history, coming to Frank's on Pima and Alvernon for 40 years.

More than just the quality and value they get, diners also love catching up with familiar faces like Candace Salisbury. Inside the old building, we found an empty table to learn a little more about what Salisbury does every shift.

If you ask her what her official title at Frank's is, it's a mantle she says she's earned and then some. "My station at the restaurant is 'food goddess,'" she said. "Nobody else (here this morning) has that title but me."

Old photographs on the diner's walls show just how long Salisbury has been here serving coffee and taking orders. On occasions where she has a couple seconds of free time, Salisbury also likes to have fun with customers and her coworkers.

"I really like to bap them on the head with my ticket book, or smack (them) upside the head with a menu, or tell them a joke... Just keep them happy," Salisbury said.

She graciously let the Good Morning Tucson team see how the kitchen team handles the morning rush.

What's the recipe for this kind of sustained success? On one hand, Salisbury credits her longtime boss, Mark Smith, and the team of partners, for steering the ship since the early 1980s.

The other factor, she said, is buying quality ingredients and keeping menu prices low.

"We try to keep them reasonable, so that's still affordable for families and so on... we keep them here because it's good, and it's friendly and it's fast, and it's so delightful to be in here."

The smell from the kitchen may help convince you to stay a little longer. We asked Salisbury about the mainstays on the menu. She said diners who know what value is will come in from 7-9 a.m. to get the early bird special.

"$3.50 -- two eggs, potatoes and some type of bread," Salisbury said. She even offered a recommendation to customize the recipe. "You can get a tortilla, you can roll the eggs and the potatoes up, get you some table sauce on it and have a burrito."

One chapter of the restaurant's history included the 'Francisco's' brand that served lunch and dinner. The restaurant struggled to keep that part of the business open, and Salisbury said, for now, they are going to focus on keeping Frank's standard of quality breakfasts and a friendly atmosphere.

José Zozaya is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Before arriving in southern Arizona, José worked in Omaha, Nebraska where he covered issues ranging from local, state and federal elections, to toxic chemical spills, and community programs impacting immigrant families. Share your story ideas and important issues with José by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.