Meet Tristan Gittens, Owner of Frankinbun
The Gourmet Sausage Restaurant
At quite a bit more than first glance, there's nothing about Tristan Gittens' curriculum vitae that would suggest he'd someday open a gourmet sausage restaurant. Gittens grew up in Palm Springs but moved away to attend UC Berkeley where he studied pre-med and worked on various HIV/AIDS studies after graduation. He then attended Stanford University, earned a masters in epidemiology, and started an independent contracting career in epidemiology/bio-statistical programming and analysis.
"I started writing movie scripts during this time and decided to move to Los Angeles to write and direct," says Gittens. "I finished two films and then went back to my independent contracting. [But] I always had the love of cooking and architecture burning in the back of my mind so when the opportunity came to get a home in Palm Springs my wife and jumped at the chance. After we settled in [Palm Springs three years ago], my wife opened her flagship store, Candice Held, on El Paseo [in Palm Desert] and I opened Frankinbun utilizing her textiles for its interior."
The menu at Frankinbun, which debuted in February 2016, is a mix of classic hot dog favorites such as the chili dog and Chicago dog, along with more obscure German and Indian favorites like currywurst and chutneys. "We call it gourmet comfort food," says Gittens. "Our signature dishes are the chicken and waffle on a stick and our house-made vegan sausage."
"We also have quirky fun food like the tornado potato, which is a spiral-cut potato on a stick with a choice of many different salts from black Italian truffle to buffalo wing. Everything is fresh made to order with gourmet ingredients. We have a selection of over 15 different sausages, three of which are vegan." And he doesn't use any fillers or mystery meats, relying instead on only the best cuts and ones that are low fat. "This isn't your ordinary hot dog although we do have those for the kids," adds Gittens.
The restaurant itself has what Gittens calls a kitschy, fun vibe defined by its hand-painted wallpaper. "Simple at first, but the deeper you look the more you discover," he says. And after 25 years away from Palm Springs he's happy to be back in his hometown. "I love the local feel. It's great getting to know the regulars and being able to customize the menu to their desires."
Frankinbun, 540 South Indian Canyon Drive, 760-318-4841