Way aims to make customers 'feel at home' at new shop

A Kent bistro-style shop is drawing the attention of locals and visitors.

“I love the place,” Lisa Lippman, of Kent, said of frank. “It’s a great addition to the town.”

“People love to hang out here,” said owner Frank Way, who opened the business May 2. “That’s is the type of experience I hoped customers would have when visiting frank.”

The goal is “to feel at home,” Way said. “And it’s about community.”

Lippman described the business as “so pretty and chic…with the pretty dishes he uses.”

The 14 N. Main St. shop serves unique breakfast and lunch fare, with a menu that has already drawn regulars.

A house coffee, made special for the shop locally by Zero Prophet in Washington, is available to purchase as well.

A manual espresso machine is used for beverages.

“A quick brewed cup of coffee or espresso drink offer just the right boost all with Frank’s incredible friendliness,” said James Mercurio of Kent. “It’s the gem in the crown of Kent’s Main Street and a delightful welcome.”

Among the items on the menu are a daily grain bowl with faro, spinach, roasted squash, avocado, bacon and topped with an organic egg; avocado toast with avocado, pickled red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and an organic poached egg on multigrain toast; roast beef and turkey sandwiches garnished with flavorful accents; several fresh salads; and a handful of soups.

A meatloaf sandwich is one of the shop’s specialties. It’s made without ketchup and bread crumbs. Instead, a fresh tomato with vinegar and crushed pumpkin seeds are used.

A few items on the menu are tweaked every few weeks, the owner said, noting some ingredients are seasonal.

“I love the curated menu,” Lippman said, adding she’s tried just about everything. “It feels appropriately elegant for the town.”

Way stepped away from the corporate world — having served as a creative director for marketing and advertising, with a focus on fashion — three years ago but had been doing consulting.

The idea of opening up a shop was the last thing on his mind. But the seed was planted when the owner of the Heron Gallery at 16 N. Main St., suggested Way take a look at the space that formerly housed No. 109 Cheese Market, now housed at 7 Old Barn Road, but will move to be connected to the House of Books at 10 North Main St., once renovations are completed at that site sometime next year.

After deep reflection and a talk with his partner, the concept formulated.

Way gutted the space and designed a cozy shop featuring two community tables and cabinets with antiques and other décor.

“The interior design is a welcoming, very comfortable smart colonial with beautiful rugs giving you the feeling you’ve stumbled into the living room of a cool hip relative you never knew you had,” Mercurio said. “Frank’s interest in the details and ingredients of his food is only trumped by his interest in you ensuring you feel welcomed, are enjoying your experience and the food.”

Way decided on the name frank., not to boost his ego, but rather to convey his philosophy of honesty and integrity — and “real food.”

Ingredients are locally sourced and organic as often as possible, the business owner said.

“We’re developing some great relationships with our local growers, farmers and makers,” Way said.

All food is prepared in house, from roasting beef and turkey to poaching fish. All baked goods are made on site, too.

Chef Matt Szwejkowski who worked for almost 10 years at another local establishment, heads up the kitchen and expanded the recipes Way designed.

“He’s really taken my foundation and made it better,” Way acknowledged.

Way, who was a short order cook while in college in New York City, said he was inspired to design the shop’s menu while combing through his recipe collection.

“I put together a portfolio of the greatest hits and it started to define a breakfast and lunch menu,” Way said of the process of creating a menu.

The longtime host who enjoys cooking at home then honed the recipes and made a meal daily for five individuals who agreed to participate in a monthly tasting.

“It was a fun experience,” he said.

Once Chef Szwejkowski came aboard, the recipes took on a new life.

Customers are welcome to sit at the community tables inside or at the seats on the porch.

To-go containers and silverware are all compostable.

Way said things are going well so far and that there is room to expand the frank. brand, with the possibility of adding housewares and kitchenwares to the shop in the future.

The shop, located at 14 N. Main St. in Kent, is open Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 860-592-0400 or visit www.frankfoodco.com.