Gray names Elegant Bull Small Business of the Year | Community

Frank Machado knows what it takes to run a great restaurant. Start with quality that can be tasted in every dish, then make every customer feel welcome the moment they walk through the door.

But a great restaurant has something more.

“When you come to the Elegant Bull, you get a tablecloth,” said Machado, who opened the Delhi restaurant on New Year’s Eve in 1989. “You get linen napkins. There are rugs on the floor and those who serve you wear ties.

Such attention to detail makes the Elegant Bull unique and compelled Assemblyman Adam Gray to honor it as his Small Business of the Year for 2022. Gray made the presentation to Machado, his wife Karen and their staff on September 15 at the restaurant.

“The place is one of a kind,” Gray said. “And Frank too. Going to the Elegant Bull wouldn’t be complete without shooting the bull with Frank. But the food!

Some dishes – Steak de Lisboa, linguica and morcella – reflect Machado’s Portuguese heritage. But most are gourmet classics such as filet mignon, prime rib, rack of lamb and chicken prepared three different ways. And the ribs are unforgettable.

The Elegant Bull has been celebrated by readers of the Turlock Journal, Merced County Times and others. Hundreds of online reviews offer thousands of gold stars.

Machado credits his staff, including a son and daughter working behind the scenes, and a wait staff with several members who have been at the Elegant Bull for a decade or more. At 92, he works every day at the restaurant.

“First you try to treat your help the way you want your customers to be treated,” Machado said. “It will be difficult for them to treat this client well if they are not treated well. The second thing is quality.

And the secret ingredient? It’s Karen, his wife.

“You have to have love and beauty and you have to have strength, that’s what it takes,” Machado said. “She has all three.”

Karen is a proud cancer survivor, whose journey continues to inspire. And it was Karen who first saw the potential in the small building just south of Delhi. Frank was thinking of a breakfast; Karen insisted it could be something more.

As she says: Frank provides the bull; it brings elegance.

But why open a gourmet restaurant in a working town of 12,000 inhabitants?

“You’re just the 10,046th person to ask this question,” said Machado, who grew up in Hilmar and now lives in Stevinson. “You’re on Highway 99; millions of people pass by your restaurant every day. I love my conservative little town of Hilmar, and Hilmar has a freeway too. But only thousands of people, perhaps, pass through it every day. You’re on Highway 99 – how can you lose it? »

When Machado returned from the Navy in the 1950s, a cousin helped him find a job in Santa Clara. Soon, he opens a pizzeria, then a nicer place, then another even nicer one.

When he opened Berry Farm in Santa Clara, elegance and atmosphere were his trademarks.

“Silicon Valley started in my restaurant,” he said, describing how customers huddled around tables imagining the information revolution.

Assemblyman Gray noted something else: “Don’t ask Frank what he thinks unless you really want to know.”

“I don’t make Republicans; I don’t do democrats,” said Machado, the son of Azorean immigrants. “I am a patriot. I want to do what’s good for America. Sometimes Republicans and Democrats, they fight like America, that don’t mean nothing. And that’s not right, no matter how hard times are.

It’s small businesses like Elegant Bull, Gray said, that help every community in the valley in times of need.

“What makes small businesses so important is that the people running them know what can be done and what needs to be done. People like Frank, who have been successful for decades, believe in themselves, they believe in their workers and they believe in their community. They don’t mind sharing their success and they don’t mind helping out when asked. They do it every day.

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