It wasn’t until I finally tried the “gumbo,” that I was entirely convinced about Frank’s—the new seafood carryout opposite the long-standing Frank’s Seafood Market.
Of course, those on the far west side, might know that Frank’s has occupied that industrial space in Hilliard for over 15 years, Columbus being one of the first way stations after fresh fish hits the coast. For the last year though, couple Wil and Kim Mendez have occupied Frank’s vacant kitchen and converted it into coveted destination for bold flavors, traditional favorites and secret family recipes.
“It’s really true that you can never judge a book by its cover,” says Wil Mendez, handing me a piping hot bowl of his award-winning gumbo. “I’ve had people from New York, Boston, Maine, and even New Orleans, where they make the best gumbo in the world, try this stuff and claim it’s by far their favorite.”
Indeed, Mendez’s ritual for making the gumbo, like most of the dishes at Frank’s, is an intense labor of love, consisting of a half-day simmer to fuse the spices in the original recipe, and a dash of Mendez’s “Latin touch,” combining extra garlic and cilantro, to give it its distinctive taste. While Mendez’s gumbo humblebrag might throw some off, with two decades in the kitchen, going from line cook to chef, he’s earned the accolades. And that’s just the appetizer.