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February 2024

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Frank Rael: Frank’s Eats and Treats: February 2022

Photo by Martha Shepp: Frank at his restaurant, surrounded by his “local heroes” banners and photographs.

Frank Rael’s name comes up frequently in Questa, often because of his generosity and support for the community; for this reason, Frank was nominated for Volunteer of the Month. Since so many of Frank’s good deeds revolve around his business, Frank’s Eats & Sweets, we decided to offer a 2-for-1 Valentine’s special. This month we highlight Frank Rael as both one of Questa’s premiere volunteers, and also feature him for our Business Profile. And by the way, Frank’s Eats & Sweets is somewhat legendary for their celebration of Valentine’s Day!

Courtesy Photo: Chocolate covered strawberry owls! Frank’s confections are so fun, artistic, and inventive!

Frank started baking about 27 years ago, for his family. Cakes became his artform. Soon, family members were asking him to make cakes for celebrations such as graduations and weddings. Word spread, and the business grew from there.

In October of 2017, he opened Frank’s Eats & Sweets. Business has boomed! Despite having to become take-out only due to COVID-19 and staffing issues, the place is hopping. The dining room is available for special events, and Frank stays busy with catering. He employs seven, two of whom are full-time. Besides his cakes, Frank is making a name for himself with his famous cream puffs—sometimes they have to make them three times a day just to keep up with demand, and they ship all over the country. During the holidays, they also ship tamales, sometimes as many as eight dozen per order.One day Frank decided he’d send 50 cream puffs in gift boxes to the elders at Taos Pueblo. The seniors’ coordinator at the pueblo couldn’t believe it, “Why?” he asked. Frank replied that God just put it in his head to do it. God has good ideas, and Frank pays attention!

Courtesy Photo: In this “story” wedding cake, read from the bottom up!

Frank’s cakes take on many shapes and sizes, for many occasions. When Questa High’s 2020 graduating seniors were feeling devastated by the pandemic’s kibosh on graduation festivities, Frank donated a custom-made cake to every one of them: each was a work of art individualized for the student. Receiving personalized graduation cakes brought up their spirits. For the graduating class of 2021, Frank gave each graduate a gift of a meal at Frank’s Eats & Sweets.

Inside the restaurant, Frank proudly displays his “local heroes banners”—laminated photographs of veterans from the Questa area. For the November 2021 Veterans Day event, Frank took it one step farther and enlarged banners to display at Questa’s Veteran Memorial Park. Frank has probably made a total of 150 of the local hero banners. As part of that veterans’ celebration, Frank donated a large flag cake. Frank credits his father, the late Eloy Rael, a proud veteran who taught Frank to honor and celebrate veterans and to give back to his community.

Helping others runs in Frank’s family. It’s not unusual to find a family member stepping in to help at the restaurant, some driving from as far away as Santa Fe when needed. And sometimes they just drive from Santa Fe to get a cream puff! Frank figures he has 147 close family members. But who’s counting?
When Frank opened Frank’s Eats & Sweets, he said he would give it a 10-year commitment. And it has already been five years! He hopes that the restaurant and bakery will continue to thrive when he retires and hopes it will stay in the family. Or maybe someone else would like to buy the business… In the meantime, Frank is planning his retirement. He has a beautiful orchard on Cabresto Road that is over 100 years old. There are apple, pear, apricot, nectarines, and thousands of wild, native Indian plum trees. He would like to spend more time working with his orchard and developing a fruit business.

Courtesy Photo: Look at the size of this cream puff, made especially for a customer at Taos Pueblo.

Frank does special giveaways through his Facebook page, especially for Fun Fridays. Frank’s has featured over 80 inventive flavors of cream puffs. When he introduces a new flavor, Facebook followers can win a cream puff if they guess the new variety. Recent flavors have included margarita and cotton candy.
For Christmas, Frank celebrated the Twelve Days of Christmas by giving away 12 jars of homemade apricot jelly, 11 eclairs, ten $10 gift certificates, etc., you get the idea, all the way down to one Chantilly Cake.

Anyone who orders pizza at Frank’s will be entered to win a Super Bowl Party Pack, which includes two large pizzas of your choice, two orders of wings, breadsticks, and sodas.

For Valentine’s Day Frank’s is offering special treats, such as chocolate-covered strawberries, and they will be giving away a giant Valentine’s teddy bear. And Frank is already talking about his Easter Bunny Carrot Cakes, which he makes for the Easter holy holiday. Check their Facebook page for more fun.
“Making people happy makes me happy,” says Frank, and that’s the way it should be.

Visit Frank’s Eats & Sweets at 2366 Highway 522 in Questa. Call to order take-out, make special orders, and inquire about catering: (575) 586-2303. They are closed on Wednesdays and otherwise open daily at 11 am until 6 pm, except for Saturdays and Sundays, when they close at 7 pm. His Instagram @beaverrael. and Facebook @frankseatsnsweets.