Early this month, Montgomery residents received a wonderful surprise when a new business opened its doors. Little was known and there was much speculation about the restaurant, which made its debut June 2 in the location of the recently closed Frank’s Pizza.
The business owner, Barry Blackburn, said during a recent interview, “I planned on calling the place Barry’s Pizzeria, but everyone who stopped by asked if we were reopening Frank’s. I kept telling them this was not Frank’s Pizza. We went to get our license and my wife recommended that since we kept telling people that we were not Frank’s, that it should be our name.
“I liked her idea and decided to call the restaurant Not Frank’s Pizza instead.”
Blackburn, who also owns the building, said he felt that a restaurant needed to immediately open in Montgomery to fill the void left by the closures of Frank’s Pizza and another hometown favorite, Benny’s Bar and Grill. The building already had everything that was needed to open except one vital piece: The managers and staff.
The businessman was aware of the popularity of former Frank’s Pizza employees Chad Vickers and Kathleen “Kat” Riddle, a couple in their daily lives in addition to being a team at work. Vickers started working at the restaurant shortly after his graduation from Valley High School and spent 17 faithful years at the establishment under its former owners. As time went on, his love for cooking and the pride in his work grew. His skill and expertise in the kitchen caused him to win over many customers and gain a loyal following who wanted a “Chad’s calzone.”
“I have Chad teaching the employees on how to make the food his way,” Blackburn laughed. “He can’t work seven days a week, even though I am pretty sure he would. So, I wanted our food to taste exactly like Chad’s does, even when he can’t be here to prepare it personally.
“He really cares about cooking. I don’t think he even realizes some of the things that he does. I watched him while he made several hoagies. After he finished each one, he’d gently wrap it up and cradle it like a baby, making sure it was perfectly wrapped. Even though I have only known him personally for a short time, I can tell how much pride that he takes in his work,” Blackburn said.
Riddle was acquainted with her future mate before she was hired as a waitress six years ago. However, love blossomed between the two as they worked side by side at the original Frank’s location on Washington Street. They became a dynamic duo and together, they worked hard to please each and every customer they had the pleasure of meeting.
Blackburn, who also owns pawn shops and thrift stores in the UKV and Oak Hill, only had wonderful things to say about his new kitchen and wait staff managers.
“Those two, along with Dusty Miller, are so popular in the area. Walking down the street with one of them is like walking around with a celebrity. When I saw how much everyone in town cared about all of them, I knew opening Not Frank’s was something that we definitely had to do,” he said as he smiled at his newfound employees and friends.
Miller, also a fellow Valley graduate and former Frank’s Pizza delivery driver for seven years, decided to join Vickers and Riddle as an employee at the new establishment.
“Dusty is just as dedicated as either of us,” Vickers said. “When I