5Frankie and his wife Rhonda are the owners of Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta, a lively little Italian restaurant in Redmond, Washington
Frankie says about himself “On a sunny June day in 1972, just after graduating from High School, grace and good fortune smiled upon me. I had just gotten promoted to assistant manager in my local McDonald’s in Huntington Beach, when a cute little blond named Rhonda walked in looking for a job. She got hired and a week later I asked her out on a date (fraternizing with the help — a very big no-no!). She agreed, and the rest as they say, is history. I was a bit of a long-haired, wanna-be hippy (who wore a short-haired wig to work) and Rhonda was a little beach bunny. I fell head over heels, and that December we got married at the fully mature age of 19.
The two of us attended Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, where I majored in photography; before getting swept up in my McDonald’s career, and Rhonda and I starting a young family. For a time I managed the McDonald’s franchise in HB and then one on Coast Highway in Newport Beach.
But Rhonda and I got a bug to escape the rat race of Orange County. In 1979 we visited friends in the quiet country suburb of Woodinville, Washington. We liked it so much we packed up our Volkswagen bus with our two kids and all our earthly possessions, and headed north on a grand adventure. We bought a house in Woodinville where we lived for 23 years and added two more children to our famiglia.
Rhonda did a long stint as a full-time mom, while I went off to continue my McDonald’s career, working directly for the corporation this time around. The career went well. I eventually moved into mid-management. I did a variety of positions including supervising restaurants, being a Field Consultant to franchisees, and a Training Consultant teaching classes to managers.
McDonald’s was a good job and an excellent teacher, but I never considered myself a corporate guy. I had a creative, entrepreneurial spirit and a yearning to launch out on my own. So for several years I honed my concept and, in 1993, Rhonda and I took a big leap of faith and opened Frankie’s.
Neither Rhonda nor I have much formal training as chefs. But we both love to cook. So for many years I have applied myself to learning the craft of Italian cuisine. I attended continuing education classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa with my son Noah. And Rhonda and I have made two trips to Italy, immersing ourselves in the culture and food. But mostly, I have spent long hours in the kitchen, learning how to prepare traditional Italian dishes as well as creating my own original dishes from scratch. The best part has been enjoying the fruits of our labor.
Today our family includes a wonderful granddaughter, Teddy, who is the joy of our lives and my frequent helper in the kitchen. We have been blessed!”