Ryan Chartrand

Saturday morning at Frank’s Famous Hotdogs off is a favorite for families to enjoy pancakes together, while college students sober up to a breakfast burrito, but the restaurant has added a new item to the menu that will make the experience all the better.

Frank’s has been using rice-bran oil instead of soy-bean oil for a little over a month, making its food much healthier than other fast food competitors.

According to studies that have been done on the rice-bran oil, it can lower cholesterol, create a stronger immune system and fight free radicals all because it contains vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and is trans fat free.

Rice-bran oil is also hypoallergenic.

Ken Krall took over the business in 1984 from his father, Don, who opened the restaurant with a couple other Cal Poly students in 1977. Since its opening, Frank’s has been a favorite neighborhood joint to eat at.

Krall explained that people love coming to Frank’s because it’s not a quiet place; kids can be loud, people can laugh and nobody will give dirty looks.

Krall heard of the oil from his cousin who owns Sam’s Anchor Cafe in Tiburon, located in Marin County.

All the restaurants in Tiburon combined their buying power in order to use it because it is slightly more expensive than standard oils, Krall said.

Since the oil is better for your health, Krall couldn’t think of a reason not to use it, and in a business such as his, healthy is still a factor.

“It’s a great oil for a fast food type of place. I like to eat our food too and not feel as guilty.”

Only one person has come forward so far to complain about the change, but Krall plans to stick with this oil for awhile.

Other positive factors of rice-bran oil include that its easier to clean up and has a very high burning point of 460 degrees, giving Frank’s a 100 degrees cushion to work with before it becomes carcinogenic.

The product even replaced a butter-flavored oil previously used, now everything is fried, saut‚ed and cooked with it.

Krall gets the oil from Golden West Specialty Foods and Drake Farms, who delivers it with Frank’s food items ordered from the same company. This enables Frank’s keep its menu prices the same for the time being.

As far as Krall knows, no other businesses in San Luis Obispo use rice-bran oil, most likely because they don’t have the means to keep costs low.

A few signs and articles are posted in the restaurant about their new cooking style, but many customers still don’t know about the rice-bran oil.

Brian Wares, 24, a mechanical engineering student, ordered breakfast to go and said he hadn’t heard about Frank’s making a switch or the type of oil before.

“That is good to know. I try not to eat here too much because it’s not good for you. I probably won’t eat here more, but I feel a little better,” Wares said.

Customers are not the only ones who benefit from the new oil; leftovers of the product (about 30 gallons a week) are regularly picked up by a city worker so he can use it as biodiesel fuel.

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