An Edmonton institution, Fat Franks changing hands after 25 years

Gourmet hot dog business and Edmonton institution Fat Franks has been sold.

'I think it's just really time to move on. There's other adventures'

Fat Franks employees at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Gourmet hot dog business and Edmonton institution Fat Franks has been sold.

Lorne Merrick, owner of the popular event catering company confirmed the sale on Sunday, at the stand's 25th and final Edmonton Folk Music Festival appearance. The decision was made after Merrick's wife was diagnosed with cancer, he said.

Fat Franks owner Lorne Merrick said the business has been sold after 25 years. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

"I just realized that there's a few things a little bit more important to life than keeping on working," Merrick said. "I'm a young puppy and I'm only 62. But that was the motivation really and I think it's just really time to move on. There's other adventures."

Fat Franks was founded in Edmonton in 1995 with three mobile food carts selling custom-made hot dogs and sausages on buns, with a gourmet range of condiments and sauces.

The business grew to over 25 mobile street food vendors serving central and northern Alberta. Fat Franks could be spotted at most major events in the city, as well as on Whyte Avenue, on campuses of the University of Alberta and MacEwan University, and at West Edmonton Mall. 

New direction

Merrick didn't say who bought the business, but said the new owners will be taking it in a new direction. 

"Frankly, I don't think they're going to be too interested in the catering events ... like the Folk Festival or the Blues Festival or the Fringe. I believe they're more intent on opening up restaurants, which is a different way to go but that's OK. Nothing stays the same," Merrick said. 

He'll mostly miss the festival lifestyle, Merrick added. 

"I'm going to miss the chit-chatting with everybody. The carny aspect of the world out here, being silly and goofy and enjoying the life."

With files from Fakiha Baig


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