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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Frankly Sausages Food Truck Scores New Owners: Chloe Yates and Ben McArthur

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 12:00 PM

God bless America, these fries are staying in our lives. - MABEL SUEN
  • MABEL SUEN
  • God bless America, these fries are staying in our lives.

Fans of Frankly Sausages (www.franklysausages.com) can breathe a collective sigh or relief. Not only has the popular food truck and brand been sold, but its new owners are among the most capable hands in the St. Louis restaurant community.

The new proprietors are none other than Ben McArthur and Chloe Yates, a culinary duo that has been working together for the past several months at both Brennan's Work & Leisure and the pop-up dinner series Magnolia.



According to Yates, the Frankly Sausages opportunity was an obvious next step.

"When we heard about the Frankly opportunity, we both said that we should do this," Yates says. "Really, it wasn't even a question. He said, 'Should we look at the truck?' and after less than a two minute conversation, we said, 'Yes, we are doing this.' It all happened super fast, but everything is about timing and it happened to be perfect timing."

Owners Bill and Jamie Cawthon had founded the Frankly Sausages food truck soon after moving to St. Louis after years on the coasts. It developed a huge following for its hand-made sausages and first-rate fries topped with Raclette cheese, and even led to a brick-and-mortar on Cherokee Street called Frankly on Cherokee. But last month, the couple announced they were calling it quits, closing the restaurant and selling both the brand and the truck.

Enter McArthur and Yates.

For local diners, the name Ben McArthur carries significant weight. The chef gained popularity as the culinary force behind J. McArthur's, An American Kitchen, the acclaimed Lindenwood Park restaurant that closed in January 2016. Since then, the chef has worked on a variety of projects, including the revamping of Goshen Butcher Shop in Edwardsville, Illinois, some restaurant consulting work and, most lately, running the culinary operations at Brennan's Work & Leisure.

Yates, who has made a name for herself doing pop-ups and competitions (including an appearance on the Food Network) under the brand "the Pinup Chef," met McArthur after her full-time gig at the Alphateria was coming to an end earlier this year. The pair connected over social media, and before they knew it, they were meeting up for coffee and bonding over a shared vision of food. McArthur offered her both a job at Brennan's and the opportunity to collaborate with him on the Magnolia dinners.

As Yates explains, she and McArthur have big plans for the Magnolia brand, but they see the Frankly Sausages opportunity as complementary to that vision. To that end, they plan to go all-in on the truck and Magnolia, focusing on building the momentum they have created with their growing brand.

As for Frankly Sausages, Yates insists that it will remain the sausage truck that people know and love. That means you'll still have a place to get those fries.

"I'm not a big fry person, but they are stellar," Yates says. "We're going to have the raclette, too. In fact, when we were talking about buying the truck, one of the reasons was because we couldn't let those fries go away."

Eventually, McArthur and Yates will put their touches on the menu, adding dishes that have done well at their Magnolia pop-ups. However, Yates insists that she and McArthur are committed to maintaining the Frankly brand for both business purposes as well as a nod to the Cawthons.

"I'm so enamored with Bill and Jamie. They've been so incredibly kind and helpful, and we couldn't ask for two better people to buy a business from," Yates says. "I'm all about relationships, and once I met them and realized what great people they are, we were off to the races."

McArthur and Yates plan to have the truck out for the first time on July 1 and will make their calendar available on social media within the next week, helping the truck's fans find a way to get their sausage-and-fry fix. They have also reached out to anyone with whom the truck had commitments (weddings, special events) to assure them that things will carry on business as usual.

Yates admits it is a big move — one that is taking their plans in a different direction than perhaps they imagined — but she says she and McArthur could not be more thrilled with the opportunity.

"It's important for us to carry on this brand because Bill and Jamie did an incredible job building it," Yates says. "To be able to carry it on is a gift."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story contained inaccurate information about the new owners' plans for the truck. While Yates did initially tell our reporter that they wouldn't be changing the offerings, she now says that is no longer the case. We regret the error.

We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.
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