Near a busy intersection at Westheimer Road and Weslayan Street, tucked between a large apartment construction project and a looming storage facility is an acclaimed restaurant, hidden in plain sight.
“They’ll drive by all the time, and they’ll stop in, finally, and say, ‘We had no idea what this place was like inside,’” Frank’s Americana Revival owner Mike Shine said. “But the bulk of our customer base probably lives within five miles of here. We know them. They know us.”
The family-owned River Oaks neighborhood restaurant is thriving, he said. This September, Frank’s completed an expansion and now offers a dedicated catering kitchen and dining rooms for private events.
Shine is no stranger to the restaurant business. His career includes launching over 200 franchises of Godfather’s Pizza and running a restaurant consultancy, and this summer, he was inducted into the Texas Restaurant Association’s Hall of Honor. His two sons, including Chris, now his business partner, help him run the restaurant.
He credits his success with Frank’s mostly to having a personal touch with his customers.
“We identify with every guest personally and quickly—we say, ‘You’re our guest. How can we help you?’” Shine said. “That is a dying breed in restaurants these days.”
The other part of the winning formula has been what Shine calls “high culinary art in a comfortable presentation.”
The menu offers classic American and Southern dishes that have been taken up a few notches, creating approachable items with premium ingredients. Diners can find chicken fried steak, pot roast and chicken pot pie, and the lunch menu includes po’boys as well as 6-ounce prime filets. The top item overall might be the fried chicken, Shine said.
When he took over the former location of Frank’s Chop House, Shine’s plan was to remake the space and call it
“Mick and Nell’s,” a nod to his Irish grandparents. But as he neared opening in 2012, he chose to go with a twist on the original name. The Mick and Nell’s concept is still in the works, he said, with multiple locations planned to roll out next year.
Frank’s Americana Revival
3736 Westheimer Road, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 5-10 p.m., Sun. 5-9 p.m.