Chris’ Cafe serves comfort classics in Clearfield
Chris Frazier spent over 17 years as a food industry broker, helping restaurant owners become successful.
“So now I find myself in a position that I can implement what I’ve been teaching all my life,” said Frazier, who opened his own Clearfield restaurant, Chris’ Cafe, almost five years ago. “It’s all about a quality product, a clean environment and friendly service. If I take care of my customers, they will come back and see me again and again.”
That’s probably why the 113-seat cafe usually has at least a 30-minute wait most Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Frazier started out with a detailed business plan, buying and remodeling the building that was most recently Burrito Grande.
He’s particular about how things should be cooked. The thick-cut applewood bacon is baked for even crispness. So are the plump sausages, because, Frazier said, “It gives them a better bite.”
His hash browns are browned with clarified butter for a superior flavor.
The eggs in the eggs Benedicts are poached two minutes, unless a customer requests differently. In the banana pancakes — his wife Christy’s recipe — the bananas are squished and distributed in the batter, rather than sliced on top.
But in the case of his bread pudding French toast, sometimes the unplanned can turn out to be a huge hit.
The restaurant started out serving bread pudding as a dessert, but it wasn’t selling.
“We threw away more than we sold,” Frazier said. “One morning, I saw a piece of bread pudding in the cooler and ate it cold for breakfast. Then I took a slice and made it into French toast for myself, and then I made some for my servers.”
They thought it was so good, they could sell it to the customers, “And here we are.”
The bread pudding starts with pieces of brioche or leftover cinnamon rolls that are baked in a mixture of cream, eggs, a little apple cinnamon whiskey, cinnamon and nutmeg, then cooled overnight. The next day, thick slices are battered into French toast and topped with whipped cream.
Another customer favorite is the traditional eggs Benedict — a split English muffin covered with two poached eggs, ham and Hollandaise sauce
“I sell a lot, and we’ve twisted the concept for our daily specials,” said Frazier. “A cowboy Benedict would have a toasted biscuit, sausage patty and a poached egg with country gravy.”
The loaded eggs Benedict uses sautéed veggies topped with sliced avocado. There’s also a chile verde Benedict, “And we make our own chile verde; we go through six to eight gallons a week.”
Frazier, an Ogden High grad, started washing dishes at age 13 at his father’s Piccadilly Fish & Chips on Washington Boulevard. He moved up to fry cook and was an assistant manager by the time he graduated from high school.
Over the years, he worked as a food delivery driver, meat cutter, grocery store meat department manager, line cook and production manager in a USDA facility. Along the way, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business.
In 2001, he opened his own foodservice brokerage where he represented over 35 food lines to restaurants. This gave him the opportunity to work with restaurateurs and help them become successful.
When he turned 60, he decided to retire. But his wife, Christy Frazier, wanted to stay with her teaching job at the Davis School District for at least five more years. She asked him to find a project to keep himself busy, perhaps restoring another car. To her surprise, he decided to open a restaurant.
“I always wanted to do a family-style restaurant,” he said. The name Chris’ Cafe is for both owners, Chris and Christy.
He chose to do sit-down service, he said, “Because I like it, and I surveyed the area and who the competition was within 5 miles of this building and knew I could make it work.”
He wanted to serve breakfast and lunch only, closing at 2 every afternoon.
“As I looked at this area, I realized that after 5 p.m., people don’t stop around here. They go on the freeway to home. We tried dinner for three or four months the first year, and it was just like I thought — no traffic.”
Also, by being open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., “I can run this business on one shift.”
Frazier can often be found on the restaurant floor, chatting with customers and pouring coffee.
The “garage” décor — old license plates, vintage gas pumps, an antique truck and so on — speaks to Frazier’s passion for cars and motorcycles. “Most of these things were given to me,” he said.
He also has a “fallen soldier” table, dedicated to American soldiers, with a donation jar to fund medals to veterans who served during the Cold War. Frazier graduated high school in 1976, after the Vietnam War ended.
“But I’m an entrepreneur, and I recognize that I’ve been able to be in business for myself, and do and say what I want, because someone guaranteed those freedoms for me. I feel they deserve respect every day,” he said.
A group of Vietnam veteran “regulars” usually gathers for breakfast the first Saturday of the month. “They welcome anyone new to their group,” Frazier said.
But Chris’ Cafe isn’t simply a “guys” place. When considering the type of atmosphere he wanted, Frazier took note of places where his wife feels comfortable and planned accordingly.
“I’ve got a group of ladies who come in and spend two hours laughing and having a great lunch and a great time,” he said. “And they’re comfortable here, so I’ve accomplished one of my goals.”
IF YOU GO
Location: 56 E. 1700 South, Clearfield
Contact: 801-292-1500 or https://chriscafe.net/
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Breakfast combos, sandwiches and omelets, $8-$13