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Christen Franke of Franke’s Cafeteria Dies at 37

2 min read

Christen Cazort Franke, an owner and operator with her family of Franke’s Cafeteria in Little Rock, died Dec. 4. She was 37.

The family business was founded by C.A. Franke, who opened a doughnut store in 1919, according to the company website. The first Franke’s Cafeteria was opened in 1924, and the restaurant is considered an Arkansas institution. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture says that Franke’s is likely the oldest restaurant in the state.

Christen Franke was born May 15, 1979, in Little Rock, and after attending college, she became the manager of Franke’s Cafeteria.

“She worked side by side with her beloved parents, William and Carolyn Franke, in continuing on the tradition of providing food served with love to the community,” said her obituary, which can be read here.

Christen Franke was a Little Rock Soirée Woman to Watch in 2014. In her profile, Franke said: “I was 15 my first day working at Franke’s. I have had many other jobs and have pursued many other dreams, but I always came back. I always knew this restaurant was my home, my heart.”

In addition to her parents, she is survived by her sister, Kathryn Franke Kitchens, wife of Kevin Kitchens; and her niece, Katelyn, and nephew, Andrew.

Christen Franke had planned to marry Daniel Christakos on Jan. 14.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at St. James United Methodist Church, 321 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in her honor to the Humane Society of Pulaski County.

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