Let’s talk about Franke’s


Gonul’s, once the site of Franke’s

The discussion going on about Plaza Hof Brau and Sam’s just gave me a blast from the past that I keep meaning to insert into our local blogging fun: Franke’s Pharmacy. I’m sure FauxPaws will have fond memories, and I’d like to hear from others.

(The web was not my friend research-wise. Googling “franke’s pharmacy” gets you one result.)

Franke’s, a throwback pharmacy and soda fountain, occupied the spot currently occupied by Gonul’s, which before that was occupied by… (fill in the blank, somebody, that ice cream parlor that came and went in the 90s.) When I was a lad coming up through Sacred Heart School Franke’s was the after school hangout, as it had been for at least one or two generations before mine.

Fifty-nine cents got you a Cherry Coke, with freshly-pumped syrup. Whenever I am asked my favorite hamburger of all time (and who am I kidding, often I will do this without being asked) I proudly announce that it is the Franke’s burger, mostly because I will never have another one, so there is zero chance that I’ll have a bad one or get sick after one for some unrelated reason and get my wiring all crossed upstairs. As such my memory is a little fuzzy but mayonnaise and relish and lots of grease come to mind. The small patty was cooked on one of those griddle press cookers.

I had a celebrity run-in there, back in 1987 or so. My friends and I spotted what’s-his-name, the guy from “Bosom Buddies,” who was a local guy. I hear he went on to Bigger and Better Things… (Literally, my friend Scott F. said “Isn’t that the guy from ‘Bosom Buddies’?”)

Now let the wave of nostalgia wash over us all…

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

13 thoughts on “Let’s talk about Franke’s”

  1. OMG! I was just reminiscing about Franke’s last weekend, as I drove down J Street. That place embodied everything I love about Americana and the 1950’s. I remember when you met Tom Hanks! I was so jealous I didn’t go with you that day. Oh, and I think it was called Artie’s in the ’90s.

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  2. Not only do I remember Franke’s but wasn’t the Kinkos on J Street an Archies Hardware (or another name perhaps) at one point? It was one of those hardware stores that sold everything under the sun as I distinctly remember going in and buying greeting cards there. Something you definitely wouldn’t find at the nearest Home Depot.

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  3. Rosie, yes, it was Archie’s Hardware and Gifts — where you could get Precious Moments (TM) collectibles along with your miter saw.

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  4. Some Sacramento historian somewhere must have pictures or stories about Franke’s. I refuse to believe that it has disappeared into the realm of the forgotten just because references on the internet are scarce. Doesn’t anyone else remember it???

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  5. I’m in the Kinkos formerly Archies right now. It’s my escape when visiting my internet-free inlaws up the street. Thanks for this fun website. I don’t live in Sacramento but am here a lot for family and work. That Franke burger sounds mighty good right now.

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  6. JR: i have a cafe in san pedro that i disappear to as well. internet-free inlaws are the worst (as far as in-laws go anyway).

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  7. DZCG,

    I was working there at the time… Not that day but, yeah, I told you guys not to bother him and his son while they ate. We got his autograph after they finished. He thanked us for waiting ’til after they finished.

    -JI

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  8. Shit. That sparked a whole bunch of memories.

    For one that place was a gold mine if you liked comic books, had a slightly bent moral code, and did the inventory for the place.

    All those cherry cokes, burgers, and other items you ate there created some of the nastiest ants and critters underneath those floor boards— how I hated lifting those up, washing them out in the back. I had a daily ritual of ‘raiding’ the outside to help hold back the onslaught the army of ants would make on a daily basis.

    The only thing worse then that was one of my chores helping in back on the pharamcy side, putting medicine bottles together in the attic. It was only about 120 degrees in the dead of summer in an un-airconditioned room filled with dust and allegedly sanitary medicine bottles and caps.

    One time after work I was chased by the girl-I-forgot-her-name-who-I-worked-with’s boyfriend and 4 of his friends in his POS pinto-esc automobile(I got away but my buddy got maced). I swear I lived in a sixties’ greaser movie. I even bought cigs at J Street Liquor after work. I just don’t recall Pony Boy every running into that burning building? Or was that the Karate Kid?

    -JI

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  9. I know it is an old story/blog but my father just told me about it…
    I, the second born grandson of Edward and virginia Franke
    Virginia being the woman that probably made those absolute wonderfully grease burgers. Remember alot of things about the drug store… My father (thier only child) and i both live in Palo Alto and Although quite young in the late sixties…I spent many hours hanging out in the pharmacy, behind the soda jerk fountain. Making my own phosphates with way too much syrup. It was the best and the worst (the sugar bonk was incredible) I look back now and i think that was the beginning of the energy drink…
    The Burger press, which made the burgers with the help of granma’s special touch was eventually auctioned off when the lunch counter side finally closed…I think in the mid to late 80″s???
    anyway, if you want to know more let me know
    I believe the original sign for the Franke’s pharmacy is in the Sacramento museum
    thanks for stirring the memories again
    DF

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  10. I am the first born grandson of Edward L.Franke.The fountain was a great place to hang out in when my gradfather was filling prescriptions (for Gov. Ronald Reagun and others).He spent long hours there even on sunday.My father would deliver the prescriptions .After deliveries he would cool of with a Cherry phosphate. Cherry phosphate was something I had never tried untill my father fixed one up for me. We then tried putting Phosphate in everything Coke,rootbeer,orange.It was great fun behind the counter mixing our own drinks. Burgers and Cokes ,on a stool ,with a comic book ,what could be better.I miss the Franke’s pharmacy.P.M.Franke

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  11. I remember Franke’s pharmacy. In the early 80’s my sister and I took ballet at Crockett Dance studio which was on 39th and H streets back then. Every day after school we would stop at Franke’s and have a phosphate or ice cream cone. We would buy our hair nets (to put over our bun) for ballet there, I swear it was new old stock from the 50’s. I loved that place, I think it was the last drug store soda fountain in town.

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