Frank's Famous in danger of closing

A Glendale deli and caterer is on the verge of closing after seven years in business and several months in arrears in payments to its landlord.

Frank’s Famous Kitchen and Catering, a Verdugo Road institution known for its Philly cheese steaks and hefty sandwiches, received notice last week that it faces eviction, co-owner Roger Frey said.

Frey said he and his wife Tracy must come up with roughly $10,000 in rent and back payments for landscaping, garbage and other services at the center it shares with India’s Flavor, Magic Wok and other shops on North Verdugo. He is seeking private funds to keep the small business alive, Frey said.

“We’re looking for a partner or someone who wants to invest,” Frey said. “Banks won’t talk to anybody about loans these days, especially for a small business.”

Tanya Zimmerman, general manager of Sterpa Real Estate Management Service, which operates the center in the 3300 block of Verdugo, said her firm has been flexible with Frank’s Famous and hopes the business can survive.

“We are trying to work with them so they can stay. Anything we can do to help them out, we will do, and have been doing,” Zimmerman said.

No other business has expressed interest in the space, she added.

The Freys opened the restaurant seven years ago, two years after Roger Frey graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. He said in its early years, Frank’s built a solid base of customers from Montrose and Sparr Heights. The restaurant made a profit, and staff grew to nearly 20 people.

Frey said the recession ate away at the business, particularly the lunchtime crowd, starting in 2008. Frank’s now employs 10 people, he said.

It is unlikely he would relocate the business, given the startup costs of opening in a new location, Frey said.

“Financially, I don’t think I could,” he said.

Frey expressed confidence that the business will bounce back if given a chance. He sent out an e-mail blast Monday to encourage customers to come in.

“We would be absolutely heartbroken if we are forced to leave,” he said in the e-mail.

“Certainly we don’t want him leaving,” Zimmerman said. “I hope everybody comes and helps him out by eating his food.”

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