Elegant Bull is open for business

At the funeral of Frank Machado, the longtime owner and chef of Delhi’s Elegant Bull restaurant, his daughter Michelle eulogized her father.

Finally he concluded his remarks, “Dad wants me to say that the Elegant Bull is open Wednesday through Sunday.”

The assembly laughed because, well, it was absolutely true.

“Promote business at all costs,” Michel said during a recent interview at the restaurant, located at 9666 Stephens St. (South Avenue exit off Highway 99).

And that’s what the Machado family is doing … promoting business at all costs. They want customers to know that Elegant Bull is open for business, Wednesday through Sunday.

“My dad was the face and voice of the restaurant,” Michelle said. “Dan is totally introverted.”

Dan is Frank’s son, the seventh of eight children, and is now the head chef at Elegant Bull. And, really, how could he be anything other than an introvert?

“He was always yelling at me to get back in the kitchen,” Dan remembers with a laugh.

The fact is that Dan was the head chef for several years.

“He did 90 percent of the cooking,” said Michelle, the youngest of Frank’s children. “People say if dad leaves, they won’t come back now.”

This prompted Frank’s widow, Karen Machado, to ask, “Who do they think cooked dinner here when Frank was up front (BS-ing) with the customers?”

Also Read :  Inflation begins to ease, but prices will remain high for some time

Dan may not have his father’s gift of gab, but he can hold his own in the kitchen, cooking traditional American dishes.

“Old fashioned?” Dan speculates when asked to describe the type of food served at Elegant Bull.

Michel, sitting in a nearby booth keeping an eye on the restaurant’s various social media accounts, offered his assessment.

“Not fat-free,” she says with a smile.

Frank David Machado, who died on Veterans Day, was born in Hilmar on May 6, 1931 — the exact same day as Willie Mays, a fact he reveled in. After serving in the US Navy, he settled in Santa Clara but then returned to Merced County to be near his family. For a time, he farmed 30 acres in Stevenson, but soon realized that the ups and downs of farming weren’t for him. In 1989, he purchased the building and land that is now the Elegant Bull.

“He had taste,” said Karen, who married Frank on Feb. 29, 1976. “He could taste a dish and tell you what was in it. We went to Europe in the 90s and visited 11 countries. He came back with recipes that are still on our menu.”

Also Read :  5 lessons we've learned from building a venture fund from scratch • TechCrunch

Recipes that Dan has mastered over the years.

“She started washing dishes when she was 10,” recalls Karen. “Then he was a busboy, then a waiter, then a bartender, then a cook.”

Michelle, the family comedian, re-enters from her nearby booth.

“I’m just here to eat Dinner,” she says, flashing another smile.

“He taught me most everything,” concludes Dan.

“But it has to work,” adds Karen. “We discussed it. I asked them if they wanted to keep it on or close the door. Until we break, we will keep it open. But if we start going into the hole, I can’t afford it.”

The number is off for this Christmas season, but the family hopes it will pick up on New Year’s Eve, traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year.

Their busiest? That would be Mother’s Day. And May 2020 was the busiest Mother’s Day during the height of the Covid pandemic.

“We were open the whole time during the pandemic,” says Karen. “Frank contacted the health department every day to make sure we could stay open.”

The Elegant Bull — with three drivers and a team of five employees — served a full meal, including entrées, vegetables, soup, salad, beans and bread.

Also Read :  How agents can leverage TikTok to build business

Frank worked his last shift at the Elegant Bull on October 1. A day later he walked to the hospital under his own power with fluid in his chest. The family was told he would likely be released in a few days, but his condition continued to worsen.

“He was in la-la land,” says Karen. “He was awake but he wasn’t really there.”

Finally, Frank rallied and was released on October 31. But a week later, his pacemaker sent a distress signal and he was rushed to the hospital once more. He died four days later.

“I just wrapped my arms around him and told him I loved him,” Karen remembers, fighting back tears. “I didn’t even look at him. I just said, ‘He’s gone, hasn’t he?’ And the nurse said, ‘Yes.’

It was a passing that was felt not only in Delhi, but throughout Merced and Stanislaus counties.

In fact, the San Francisco 49ers sent flowers upon hearing of Machado’s death, a longtime season-ticket holder.

Frank Machado may be gone, but his larger-than-life legacy lives on, through his recipes, his family and a restaurant in a small Central Valley community.

Frank As you may know, the Elegant Bull is open Wednesday through Sunday.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button