Frank Kaszeta was the Director of Operations for Forty Acres Hospitality, and beloved by all in the hospitality industry in Wilmington. It’s Time wanted to honor his memory by posthumously featuring him as a #PeopleOfWilmDE. His story is told by close friends Mark Oneschuk and Thom Gallo:
“Frank grew up and resided in Wilmington, DE. He attended A.I. Middle School and McKean High School, and he played football his whole life. He later worked at Restaurant Associates at Longwood Gardens where he learned about the restaurant industry. He then became the General Manager of Stitch House in Wilmington, and soon was the Director of Operations for Forty Acres Hospitality, which includes Stitch House and Local BBQ Post in Trolley Square.
He was well-known all-over Wilmington, especially in the bar scene. Frank could walk into any bar, busy or not, and by the time he got to the bar to order a drink, it was already poured – “Vodka / Water, NO FRUIT”. Frank’s favorite bars included Grotto’s, Oyster House, and Logan House. If you were ever at the same bar as Frank around closing time, he probably talked to you, took a shot with you, hit on you, or hit on your girlfriend.
Frank was confident, brazen, funny, social, flirtatious, inappropriate in the best way, and a walking movie. He loved making people laugh especially in stressful situations. We worked banquets together for about 6 years which can be high stress and fast paced at times. When our bosses would be freaking out and come to Frank he would make a smart but funny comment that would just lighten the whole mood. He was also a huge Green Bay Packers fan and the life of the party. If he was at the party, just keep your phone on standby because chances are you were going to capture some magic. He was always the common denominator amongst our group of friends.
Frank enjoyed working in the restaurant industry because he was an alcohol enthusiast, he loves food, and he loves people. Michelle Bach, the GM of Restaurant Associates at Longwood Gardens, was a large reason Frank not only loved working in the restaurant industry but helped him excel in all aspects of the job. Dan Sheridan, the Owner of Stitch House Brewery and Locale BBQ Post, gave Frank an opportunity in management where he surpassed his expectations and became the General Manager at Stitch House Brewery. Frank was dedicated to anything he did and was sure to make sure you were as well.
Frank’s life had a huge impact on his friends, family and the community. Thom Gullo stated, “Frank’s impact on my life specifically can be described as an unforgettable experience. As it was for many who had the pleasure of meeting him. I will never forget his smile, his laugh, the bear hugs I could never escape until he was ready to let go, or the roller coaster of growth his beard went through during our friendship. Frank was probably the most protective friend I ever had. Always ready to back me up or step in to protect any of his friends. Our best friend Mark described him as the ‘nicest asshole.’ I think that statement is one of the most accurate ways to describe our friend Frank. He would just as quickly start an argument as he would end one by making a joke and becoming friends with whoever he was arguing with. Frank taught me that not all family is blood and he and Mark were the first friends I ever called my brothers. And from that grew our entire group of friends who we call Family. So, I guess Frank’s impact on my life was more about family than it was about friendship. And as for the community, Frank for sure paid a lot of bills for restaurants and bars all over Wilmington!”
Thom Gullo stated his favorite memory of Frank, “One of my favorite memories with Frank happened on the golf course. It was only me and him playing as we did a lot together. Keep in mind that what I do now for a living is play and teach golf so even back then I was practicing and playing a lot. Frank was not. So, we’re playing and we get to the 6th hole at Delcastle Golf Club which is a Par 3. Now up to this point I had never seen a hole-in-one and never hit one myself. Today was just Frank’s day. He stepped up and hit this beautiful shot and when it hit the green and started tracking towards the hole we both just sat there in silence watching it with our eyes wide and jaws dropped. It went in and we both went nuts, jumping up and down and high-fives. It was such a great moment to share with him. Of course, he never let me forget that he hit one before I did and to this day I have yet to make one. We always talked about that day and I will never forget the times we spent on the golf course together. It was truly one of my favorite times to spend with him.”
Mark Oneschuk said, “One of my favorite memories with Frank happened in Atlantic City. We were at a club in Harrah’s having some drinks and we went to walk around to check out different areas of the club, when we noticed a large group of people staring at us (him). As we walked closer, multiple people came up to Frank and said, “OMG are you Action Bronson?” (Action Bronson is a rapper who Frank did resemble) Frank being Frank, said “Yeah that’s me boyz!” We ended up being pulled into this group’s VIP section at the club and partied for hours drinking for free. Frank took photos with multiple people and never told the group that he was actually not Action Bronson. What a night!”
Frank has taught many life lessons to many people. Mark Oneschuk stated, “The life lesson I’ve learned from Frank is to be the best at anything you do, work hard, and be sure to play even harder. After Frank’s passing, I have learned that we need to enjoy and appreciate our time with others, not take anything for granted, and live your life with no regrets.”
Thom Gullo added, “Frank taught me so much during our friendship. He taught me to always take care of the ones closest to me. He taught me to work hard and to give anything I did in life 100%. Frank never went to college and during our time at Longwood, Mark and I gave him a hard time about it. The reason we did is because we saw his potential as such a hard worker and we always wanted the best for each other so we pushed each other so hard. Looking back at it now it was always one of us criticizing the other with love being the catalyst. But, Frank being Frank, he proved us wrong and worked his way up at Longwood every year and eventually became an awesome food and beverage manager and trained others to be as good as him. I was so proud of the things he was doing and I know he was on his way to much bigger things. Personally I will dedicate the rest of my working life to the way Frank lived his. I know he will be with me every step of the way and I will be working as if he were watching me and counting on me to give it everything I have. I know that’s what he would want for me and my family.”