Au revoir, les chez-francs

“Who can forget those hours that passed like dreams”?

The look on her face confirmed the rumors, as Jacquetta Lannan, who I dubbed “The Wiener Queen”, let me into the store, past the CLOSED sign.

She seated me next to Daniel (who it turns out was her business partner and the Chef) and offered me a beer.

I ate this, too quickly

I ate this, too quickly

Chez Franc, Palo Alto’s classiest hot dog stand, was no more. Shuttered after a mere six months.

“How many more hot dogs might I have eaten, to keep this think going” I asked. I felt guilty, that I had only consumed about five or six.

“Plus some ice cream” she offered, ever the gracious host.

Jacquetta said it would take her time to answer precisely what her next move is. Time will tell what is next for her spiffy Cali Avenue spot, the former Know Knew Books store. She said she thinks the kitchen is versatile enough to accomodate the next entrepreneur.

I told Jacquetta and Daniel that she reminded me of Debbie Fields, another Palo Alto foodie entrepreneur who got her start in the 1970s at the old Liddicoats Mall, which is now the Apple (computer) store.

Jacquetta also gave me a pint of ice cream, for old times sake. The team from Joanie’s came by (or are they Cafe Brioche?) and she gave them some special French mustard, bound for their corned beef hash.

It’s a bit crude but I do like to claim that the three-word-incantation “Wiener Queen of Smith” or more precisley “Future Wiener Queen of Smith” would have launched a caravan of Dartmouth men to make the two-hour (107 mile) road trip and check her out for real. (Notwithstanding that in 1984, Lannan would have been a toddler, and living not in Northampton, Mass., but the Midwest; I’m sure there were some weird lights aurora borealis over the Upper Valley when she was born — she actually says she never visited Hanover, although her husband is from Harvard and New York).

Fail early, fail often is a credo of her generation of entrepreneur. I wrote about her five previous times here on Plasty, although I never quite nailed it, the charm of Chez Franc and its mmmle.

Its in a mortuary not a laundromat, thank god! But my yoga space on Cowper is now Wealthfront, with an impressive installation of shiny penny, and wife of founder Elliot Schmukler Jacquetta Lannan is meanwhile putting a pretty penny into her hot dog stand, on Cali Ave. So presumably the Symphony crew can eat Jacquetta’s weiners. I recommend “The Tokyo“: (Actually she did tell me today that one of her regrets is that she did not push the corporate catering angle; Daniel said something about how they might have kept the food truck).

Jacquetta Lannan the driving force and spearhead of and behind Chez Franc becoming one with everything at 5:55 on a Thursday (quick photo feature of her leaving after a long day, shot from inside looking out; maybe it was omenous what a good place to snack and read it was during the slow hours between lunch and dinner. My subhead is from an old Dartmouth song “Dartmouth Undying” — maybe we could have done a Dartmouth club event there — I told her my Bruce Beasley spotting story).

This doesn’t go here at all but I also chatted up Jacquetta Lannan of Chez Franc who told me to line up around noon on Monday, Jan. 12 to eat her wiener. Twelve bucks, compared to $10 out of the back of her truck, but it includes a side show I mean dish. And to tie this all together (!?) I said that I misidentified her husband Eliot Smukler (“schmook” as in not “cook” but “kook”) because I had seen an obituary about The Claw, Ed Sprinkle, the football great. (for me, for Plasty, losing Jacquetta Lannan would be like Herb Caen losing Strange de Jim or Edwin Heaven).

I have a photo of the empty room and our beer bottles; I didn’t have the nerve to ask her to sit for me. I shot her at Mitchell Park thru the window of the food truck but she turned me down when I asked during her first open week on Cali. Maybe I’ll get her with a big style on her next opening.

Apparently “Ernie Banks” is a pet name Jacquetta has for Eliot, coincidental or they are pulling my…leg. You thought I would say “hot dog”. Which actually does remind me of Mr. Parker, on my first day of baseball practice in Los Altos League when we moved here in 1974, having me throw with his son, Billy Parker, a 6th grader to my being a 5, quite an honor, and he said “Why don’t you play with this hot dog” he actually called his own son “hot dog”.

I guess I’m a sucker for hot dog stories. Reminds me of the Dartmouth guy, Dave Graulich I think, who wrote a book on the subject. Hot dogs or frankfurters are a German concept — a sausage — here given an American once-over and then blanched in Francophilia, so to speak. To me it comes out All- America and tres Palo Alto.

Maybe the problem is they didn’t actually have a “cheese frank”. Or maybe the problem is that I don’t know if they did or did not have a simple cheeze frank. That’s a hot dog covered in cheeze, or a chili cheeze dog hold the chili.

Here’s the fifth. There’s also something about Anna Eshoo lobbying for the corn dog growers. Also, Rob Syrett, a vegetarian, did some pro bono corporate i.d. for them and also said today that he was fixings to curate an art show there.

Chez Franc queen garners laurels
Posted on September 20, 2014 by markweiss86
To be frank, this is not something I would relish.
jacquetta

Anyhow , here is lookng at you, kid. As someone else once said the problems of three people in this world don’t amount to a hill of beans, blah blah blah. shush:

(hold for 30 seconds and then fade to black)

lastdaysofchezfrancpaloalto

and1: pastied to the leading fishandchippaper e-version:

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
3 minutes ago
Au revoir mon ami lez chez-francs.

It’s a bit omenous, but having a late lunch, for around $10 and sitting with a stack of paperwork for an hour was almost a bargain there.

Jacquetta is a class act and we will, I’m certain, see her around with Take Two.

Report Objectionable Content

+ Like this comment Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
0 minutes ago
omenuis i mean.

As in, Oh, the menu is reacting to the customer feedback on pricing.

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About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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