Photo by Adrienne Roberts. Chef Gabe Rodriguez has lived all over the United States from Austin to New York, but he eventually chose to move to Traverse City for a change of pace; now, he’s the Chef di Cuisine at one of the most-talked about new Northern Michigan restaurants, The Franklin. MyNorth’s Adrienne Roberts sat down with Gabe to talk about everything from what inspired The Franklin’s varied menu to what he loves about living in Traverse City.

What inspired your menu?

I have a lot of background in Asian, Latin, Italian, and world cuisine. I just wanted to make a menu that was comfortable and approachable. I wanted it to have a lot of heart and love behind it. I didn’t want to get too fancy with people. I wanted it to be a lot of really amazing, international comfort food that’s presented really well.

What’s something on the menu that you’re really excited about?

I’m excited about the poblano pepper and the lamb burger. But honestly, everything has been selling quite nicely.

Can you tell me more about the building itself?

It’s a very environmentally-friendly building. We used a lot of recycled materials. The kitchen is basically run by a group of compressors that ramp up and shut down as needed. We’re getting everything we need so it maintains it without wasting too much energy.

What’s your biggest priority every night at your restaurant?

My biggest priority is the restaurant. As a company, our biggest priority is the guest so we’re doing everything we can to ensure that our standards are being met and our standard for service and food are being met, as well.

Why did you move to Traverse City?

I moved here because it was completely different from what I was used to. I’ve lived in major cities my whole life and it was nice to come to a place that’s small, quiet, and exceptionally beautiful. It was a change of pace.

What’s your favorite part about living in Traverse City?

I like to do anything outside. I love to hike, kayak, and just go to the beach and hang out. In the wintertime, I love to be outside in the snow.

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