After stops and starts, Frank’s Chophouse now has firm footing on the Boulder restaurant scene.
By Emma Polachek
The iconic location of 921 Walnut St. in Boulder has a long history—a Ford dealership in the ’40s, Irish pub and music venue J.J McCabe’s in the ’80s, and up until last year, the Boulder Chophouse. In the spring of 2020, Boulder Chophouse closed, and Frank’s Chophouse opened. Revived and revamped by restaurateurs Frank and Gina Day, Frank’s Chophouse carries a legacy that not only preserves Boulder’s historic past but will continue to shape the city’s culinary future.
After a pandemic-induced closure in 2020 and a second closure last holiday season due to the ban on indoor dining, general manager Sam Blundell says 2021’s reopening has been “extremely positive,” and they couldn’t have asked for business to be better. Blundell took over as general manager of Frank’s in April 2021, and after some minor updates, he says the community’s response to the new and improved Chophouse has been positively overwhelming.
“People who had been coming to [Boulder Chophouse] for years were very happy to see us reopening,” Blundell says.
Although Frank’s Chophouse is a new restaurant under new ownership, the owners kept all the best components of the original Chophouse. You’ll find some new and updated furniture, but the same embroidered booths and the original black-and-white mosaic tile remain. You’ll also recognize many familiar faces, because the Days offered the original Boulder Chophouse staff their jobs back upon opening. They prioritized maintaining the popular happy hour and expanding the menu’s variety.
Frank’s boasts two restaurant concepts—the tavern-style cocktail bar on one side and the high-end steakhouse on the other. For both, the tavern side and the dining room side, the goal was clear. “Take the best of what they were doing here before and put Frank’s stamp on it,” Blundell says.
The steakhouse was updated with new menu items like Frank Day’s Twin Twin burger, “done in a smash-burger style on a hot griddle with melted cheese.” The menu also offers more seafood options, like Florida grouper or Blundell’s favorite: the jumbo sea scallops with mushroom risotto, bronzed fennel and asparagus drenched in a rich beurre blanc.
For the cocktail bar, the Frank’s team worked on “making it a bit more interesting and a bit higher quality across the board,” Blundell says. Whether for a classic cocktail recipe or an original house creation, Frank’s uses only fresh-squeezed juice and quality ingredients to elevate the flavors. A fan favorite is the refreshing Passion Tea, concocted using Breckenridge Vodka, Cointreau, Giffard Fruit de La Passion Liqueur, black tea and lemon juice.
With beloved neighborhood spots like The Med and Brasserie Ten Ten indefinitely shuttered, Blundell and his team are trying to maintain the gourmet reputation along their stretch of Walnut Street. They feel grateful for the immediate success Frank’s has found and the love it’s received from the community.
What Blundell loves most about Frank’s is its patrons. He says he’s never worked in a place where so many come in to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. “It’s a place where people like to have a good time, and it’s hard not to pick up on that energy and that vibe,” Blundell says. “We’re really lucky to have inherited that kind of legacy here in Boulder.
921 Walnut St., Boulder