It’s been an extended and unfortunate absence for ChowtownKC, but this is something we intend to remedy and today it’s the turn of W39th Street centerpoint, Fric & Frac.
Somewhat surprisingly, Fric & Frac has been around since 1976 (happy 40th), and so can almost be considered an elder statesman of the area. F&F is a remarkably shabby chic, almost bohemian place, encompassing the slap dash decor, almost non-existent uniforms and battered tables – rather surprisingly Fric only seats 9 tables inside. However, sharp and modern isn’t really the point of Fric & Frac. What is the point is that it’s a social melange, a place to go and mix with people (even the staff switch between waiting tables and working the bar) and, because of the street tabling, also a good place to people watch. It is Kansas City’s equivalent Central Perk or Cheers, although considerably more culturally diverse.
As said, Fric & Frac is actually pretty small on space, although there is a games room out back for those so inclined. On this day I wasn’t so inclined and so plopped myself down at a window table to watch the world go by and enjoy a gyro with Suzy Q (i.e. curly) fries because, let’s face it, Tina Turner lied when she sang we don’t need another hero. (groan)
[gyro and fries for just $10.60. Yum]
Fric & Frac feels like a weird mix of hipster and blue collar diner and has a menu to match offering a range of burgers, phillies, sandwiches and salads. Much like the gyro I had, the food is down to earth, lacks frills, filling and solid. Kind of like the American ideal. Indeed the MENU, whilst unassuming, is surprisingly varied with nothing, not even the spicy chicken salad, coming in at over twelve bucks. Good variety means good return value, but the best reason to return and return and return is their daily specials. Like tacos? Best turn up on a Saturday for the all day 3 for $2.95 offer. Like a good burger? Well in that case you’ll want to be going on a Monday for the 2 for 1 special.
Fric does have a bar and although the beer list is somewhat limited, it does stock a range of Boulevard beers and you can pick up a pitcher for a measly $15 (assuming you wisely avoid the $12 Bud Light pitchers). It’s even possible to pick up a decent glass of wine if you are so inclined.
This is a place that is definitely greater than the sum of its parts in that while it’s not a place to expect haute cuisine or a swanky sommelier pushing the Chateau Lafite ’82, it’s a great place to meet, hang out, grab a bite and a beer and watch the world go by. And that, to me, is the strength of somewhere like Fric & Frac, it’s more than just a diner, it’s a community. Plus it’s open late, so definitely worth the stagger after a long day at work.
I do worry about the dodgy trance music that gets played there, however.
LOCATION: 700 W 39th Street Kansas City, MO 64111
PHONE:  753 6102
HOURS: Sunday to Thursday 11AM to Midnight. Friday & Saturday 11AM to 1:30AM