BY Amanda Sotelo
Frank Macias’ passion for cooking first started because of the Food Network making him hungry for success in the restaurant industry.
Now Frank Macias is the proud owner of Frankie Flav’z in Harlingen, a gourmet burger restaurant.
Though the journey was not easy, the Texas State Technical College alumnus’ restaurant has grown in popularity with burgers such as El Guapo, Sriracha Chicken Sandwich and El Chapa Burger, recipes of his own creation.
“I’ve always wanted to bring a different type of food scene to the Valley,” said Macias. “And I’m so blessed and glad to be doing what I’m doing.”
The Rio Hondo native graduated with an associate degree from TSTC’s Culinary Arts program in 2014 and said TSTC changed his life because, although he already worked in the restaurant industry, he had never worked in a kitchen.
“TSTC prepared me so well. It allowed me to sharpen my cooking skills, while learning the business aspect of the industry,” he said. “Because of TSTC I am now well-rounded in the food business.”
Before opening his restaurant earlier this year, Macias owned a gourmet burger food truck. It was through this first business venture that he built a strong following.
For two years, Macias’ food truck served Harlingen and surrounding communities serving up their most popular burgers such as the Cubano, consisting of braised pork cooked in a marinade placed in a buttered Bolillo bun and topped with ham, pickles, Swiss cheese and a touch of mustard.
“People doubted that my food truck could do well in the Valley, but it caught on and here we are now with a restaurant. Truly a dream come true,” said Macias.
The restaurant has not even been opened more than a month and Macias said response has been great.
“I was nervous about the transition from the food truck to a restaurant but I’m truly enjoying the experience,” he said. “Being able to see the joy my food brings to people is the most rewarding and exciting thing.”
The 41-year-old’s Yelp restaurant reviews prove Macias’ gourmet burgers are being enjoyed.
One comment read, “If you’re looking for a delicious gourmet burger prepared with just the right combination of flavors to satisfy even the pickiest of eater…look no further than Frankie Flav’z.”
Macias said however, it’s not only the food that keeps people coming back, but the service. He hires TSTC alumni. Some he went to school with and others he met later, but he never doubts their skill.
“TSTC has such a great culinary arts program,” he said. “I’m never worried about my employees’ work ethic or skills.”
So what does Macias’ future look like?
He will be reviving the Frankie Flav’z food truck for special catering events such as festivals, corporate meetings and weddings and quincenerias.
“We already cater, but I want to keep my truck. It’s my baby. It’s where it all began,” said Macias.
Macias is also currently competing to win the Blended Burger Project for his chance to cook at the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village. He has entered his burger El Luchador, which folks can vote for daily on the restaurant’s Facebook page through the end of July online.
Beard was a champion of American cuisine, cookbook author, teacher and television personality.
“Only the best of the best have ever cooked there,” said Macias. “Being able to cook at the historic James Beard House would be an honor.”
For more information on TSTC’s Culinary Arts program or to register for fall classes, go online at tstc.edu.