Danville says farewell to town icon Franklin Kistner aka “Pete” of Pete’s Brass Rail at age 75

DANVILLE – Resident Franklin Kistner aka “Pete” of Pete’s Brass Rail passed away last month at age 75.

Kistner passed away peacefully with his family at his side in San Mateo last Sunday, according to his obituary.

He founded Danville’s iconic Pete’s Brass Rail restaurant in 1987.

Kistner was a well-known face around town, and he was hard to miss. A New Jersey native who often spoke his mind, Kistner was unafraid of what others thought of his opinion. According to Dave Homer, the restaurant’s current owner who purchased the establishment from Kistner in 2005, he was “a larger than life figure; when he was in the room, you knew it.”

“It’s like losing a family member; Franklin was an iconic person in town,” Homer said. “He still came around often, even after he sold the restaurant.”

Kistner’s face has remained a distinctive symbol of the restaurant. According to Homer, “Pete,” a caricature of Kistner’s face, was created by a customer who doodled a drawing of him on a placemat in the early era of the restaurant. The face of “Pete” was added to the menus, then copies were made for others add creative characteristics, as seen hung on the walls of the current-day restaurant. Before long, “Pete” became a central symbol of the restaurant’s brand.

Homer, along with family and friends of Kistner’s will speak at a gathering at the Veterans Memorial Building in Danville on July 9th at 3:30 pm. The event is open to the public.

You can read Franklin Kistner’s full obituary on Legacy.com.

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