Back, from left: Carrie Pries, Lindsey Fitzpatrick, Tracy Oswald, Leah Fitzpatrick, Heidi Deno and (Front, from left) Briana Lange, Twyla Oswald and Zach Hemker are many of the crew that keep Frank ’n Steins restaurant continuing to cook and serve wonderful meals. On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is celebrating its 37th anniversary at its location at 15 Frontage Road Northwest.
By Gretta Becay
Frank Oswald always loved to cook. He and his family used to run the Byron Legion Café located across the street from the grain elevators.
"We did all their steak fries. It was crazy. I did the dishes then," said Tracy Oswald, Frank and Twyla's daughter.
In the fall of 1980, Frank saw the house at 15 Frontage Road Northwest come up for sale and decided it would be a good place for a restaurant.
How'd he come up with the name?
"It was in the fall, [around Halloween] his name was Frank, we sold beer, it all came together to the name Frank 'n Steins," Tracy Oswald remembers.
The family and many helpers cleaned up the house and set up the dining room and kitchen.
Upstairs in the building was an old, bright red, claw-foot bathtub and, Oswald remembers, "...Dick Thompson, Norman Went and Vern Exe helped my dad carry it downstairs, mount it on a base and it became the salad bar."
She explained that is the original red color.
"It contributes to the homey feel and the atmosphere. That and the fireplace," she said.
The restaurant opened on Valentines Day, 1981.
Four years later the Oswald's built on the bar. "Things really took off," said Tracy. "We like to focus on families. The dining room is secluded from the bar."
After working for her mom and dad for 27 years, Oswald took over the restaurant 10 years ago. She remembers working in the kitchen when her daughters were tiny.
"I had them in a box in the kitchen while I worked," she quipped.
"The town's been good to us," she said. "We have a lot of repeat customers and I like to use local meat from the Byron Market Place and buns from Otto's Bakery especially on burger nights, which are Wednesdays and Sundays. We came to town with no family and now we feel like we have a big family."
Oswald's daughters, Lindsey and Leah Fitzpatrick are a big help.
"I'd be lost without them. They do just as much as I do," she said.
"They've taken over some things through the years."
Read the rest of the story in the print edition of the Star Herald or Byron Review.