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WE’VE KNOWN OUR FAMILY had roots in the meat business, but I didn’t realize how deep they were until my sister Susie dug into the company archives during our recent remodel of Five Crowns. She found an 1883 flyer for “L. Frank and Son” advertising — much to our surprise — “Crown Brand” sausages produced and sold by our great-great grandfather Louis Frank.
According to the History of Milwaukee, the L. Frank and Son “meat store” was established in 1860 and by 1881 “employed forty hands, produced 500,000 pounds of Bologna sausage each season, sold throughout the United States and exported in considerable quantity to Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna and other continental cities of Europe.”
“Crown Brand” sausages produced and sold by our great-great grandfather Louis Frank.
It was really something to learn that our family is part of a heritage that began 156 ago and almost 2000 miles away! Generation after generation has contributed to that legacy in different ways.
One of Louis’s sons, my great-grandfather Nathan Frank, was adventuresome and moved from Milwaukee to Deadwood, South Dakota, the frontier town where Wild Bill Hickok and Annie Oakley became famous. There, he opened a general store and sold beef and sausages shipped in from points east.
He returned to his hometown twice, with a two-year stay in between in Sierra Madre, California for the sake of my great-grandmother Bertha’s health. Finally settled in Milwaukee, Nathan ran his father’s business until his death in 1913. At that point, his son and my great uncle, Walter Frank, took over the company.
There was more than just the meat business in our family DNA.
Interestingly, in the first decade of the 20th century, another of Nathan’s sons, Edwin, made a success of the Frank Pure Food Company specializing in canning sauerkraut in Franksville, Wisconsin near Racine, “the sauerkraut capital of the world.”
This leads me to believe that when, in 1915, my grandfather Lawrence, his brother Ralph and brother-in-law Theodore Van de Kamp started a potato chip store in L.A. that would eventually lead to Van de Kamps Bakery and Lawry’s Foods, there was more than just the meat business in our family DNA. But that’s a story for another time.
Generation after generation has contributed to that legacy in different ways.
Of course, great beef was always at the core of what would become Lawry’s Restaurants. Lawrence’s initial idea for Lawry’s The Prime Rib came from his dream of recreating the Sunday family dinner he loved so much while growing up and selling it to America. In a smart entrepreneurial move, another family business called The Frank Fellows and Woolfson supplied hand selected and aged prime rib to all our restaurants for thirty-five years.
When we say Lawry’s knows beef, you can believe it.
Today, complementing some beautiful changes we’ve made to Five Crowns, Ryan Wilson, our Corporate Executive Chef, my nephew and Louis Frank’s great-great-great grandson, has come up with a new menu that would make all our family’s meat-loving generations proud. It features Prime Rib, of course, but also offers six steaks, an incredible veal chop and much more. What a terrific example of historical continuity. When we say Lawry’s knows beef, you can believe it.
And that 1883 flyer I first mentioned? You’ll find it framed on the wall to your right as you enter the Five Crowns main dining room.
From the desk of Richard R. Frank
3801 East Coast Hwy, Corona del Mar, CA 92625