We Wing It In The Corridor

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Francar’s Buffalo Wings have been nothing short of a Macon staple over their last 20 years. The entire month of March, Francar’s commemorates its 20 year anniversary of serving the diners of Macon. A Central High School and then Mercer University grad, Carl Fambro spent 14 years in the armed service and took his separation pay to help realize his dream: create his own business. “I knew I wanted to create my own destiny”, recounts Mr. Fambro. His original goal was to remain close to his collegiate alma mater but the desired space neighboring Mercer University was too run down and a location on Log Cabin Drive was increasing in interest.

While his original dream was to own and manage three restaurants, Fambro found that perfecting one was his gift. Francar’s sold countless wings at the Log Cabin location for 12 years  when an opportunity emerged to move closer to Mercer, with Pi Kappa Phi fraternity doing much of the coaxing. Ultimately, a second location to later be considered in the Mercer Village was opened. The two restaurants existed simultaneously for a few months until Fambro decided the Mercer location was where they were meant to be. Many even refer to him now as the “Mayor of Mercer Village”! This story, however does not remain within the walls that contain the restaurant, but rather, in the incredible people who built the business.

Carl Fambro met his wife whom most Mercerians affectionately refer to as “Mrs. Sharon” after she graduated Georgia State University. Though living in Atlanta, she took a visit back to her hometown of Macon and stopped by Francar’s to pick up a meal. After stopping in several times to dine, she came in for what appeared to be a routine pick up and was then put to work to make a delivery for the swamped Carl Fambro. Several dates and months later, they were married and continued to build the, then, wing joint.

Their love for Mercer and all of their Macon customers is deeply seeded and apparent from the student-inspired wing sauces on the menu to Mrs. Sharon teaching us manners when we step out of line. Not only is the restaurant responsive to student requests and ideas, but actively work to better the relationship with Mercer students and the Macon community. Carl Fambro can often be found talking with the students of Ingram Pye Elementary in addition to recruiting other professionals such as doctors, attorneys, Mercer students, and local business owners to do the same.

Much has changed over 20 years. Never did Fambro idealize a restaurant beyond wings but now he is hoping to make the demand of featuring is Mardi Gras-made-famous Gumbo permanently on the menu. Francar’s can also be found as concessions during basketball games in addition to catering countless events per week. The location and menu has changed along with many of its customers but, much has not. The strong and responsive relationships with the students in addition to much of the greater Macon area have proven Francar’s Buffalo Wings to be a Macon landmark.

How might Francar’s be celebrating their 20 year anniversary? T-shirts can be bought for just $10 commemorating the milestone as well as a celebration this coming Saturday with free cake and cookies to its customers.

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We Profile In The Corridor: Tim Regan-Porter

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Profile By Emily Farlow

When magazine publisher Condé Nast offered Tim Regan-Porter his dream job, instead of ending up in New York, he moved to Macon to become Director of Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Regan-Porter, who helped start Decatur-based Paste Magazine, said it’s hard for individuals to make a big difference in large companies such as Condé Nast. “Whereas coming here, it’s a new program, so the possibilities are pretty much wide open,” said Regan-Porter. “It was a very big idea–an innovative idea, so there is just a lot more potential to get things done and try new things.”

He was drawn to Macon because it is a city “in the midst of transformation.” While Macon has had its problems, Regan-Porter said the opportunity to be part of a city’s transformation is special.

“There’s a core group of people who are trying to improve the community,” said Regan-Porter. “And there’s room for anybody to plug into that; it’s not a closed community, which is what I expected when I interviewed here.”

People in Macon are willing to work hard to improve their community, Regan-Porter said. “You get the sense that you can do anything here.”

Regan-Porter does his part in improving Macon by living downtown. “Just living in the community, I think, is good and important,” he said.

Regan-Porter and his wife Leila are renovating what is known as the Wise Blood house on High St., built in the 1890s. “Wise Blood the film, the adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s first novel, was filmed in Macon,” said Regan-Porter. “Most of it takes place in my house.”

Regan-Porter recently joined the Downtown Rotary Club, and he is also involved in Leadership Macon this year.

“[Leadership Macon] is leaders from all over the community,” said Regan-Porter. “It’s a yearly thing; they have different groups each year. So each class does a major project as their way of giving back to the community.” Last year’s class was responsible for setting up the homeless meters downtown.

Regan-Porter also created the Macon Music Ambassadors program with the help of College Hill Alliance through a Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant.

While it is still in the planning process, the goal is to bring nationally-recognized and regional music artists to Macon once a month to play a free lunchtime concert in Mercer Village and a house concert in a historic home. “And then we will basically wine-and-dine them and show them the city,” said Regan-Porter.

“Macon should be what Athens was, times two. We have a musical history that is deeper than Athens, a cost of living that is cheaper than Athens, and that’s a big reason artists moved there,” he said.

Regan-Porter’s community involvement does not stop at his personal life. The Center participates in one community engagement project each semester, which helps students get to know Macon by getting out into the community.

“There are lots of challenges in this community,” said Regan-Porter. “I think The Center can provide some perspective and tools [to help the community].”

We Collaborate In The Corridor

Because we collaborate our forces in the Corridor, from celebrating St. Patrick’s day together in Mercer Village to highlighting artists on Second Sunday, the best way to demonstrate why the Corridor is so great is to use all of our media sources in one location.

So here we are! Make sure you “Like” our Facebook page on the left and follow us on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram which are all linked on the right. We’ll be keeping you posted In The Corridor!Image