Two months after Franny’s owners Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg drew back the curtain on the new location of their 10-year-old pizzeria, the restaurant is as busy as ever, the larger space filling to capacity most nights of the week. And that’s why, Stephens says, the pair wanted to relocate somewhere that would allow them to roll out lunch, which they just debuted this week.
“We’ve been looking forward to this a long time,” says Stephens. “It was part of the original intention behind moving.” Longtime regulars, she explains, complained frequently about the waits, which could stretch for hours. The new location alleviated some of that problem, though weekends still saw the same massive crowds. The partners wanted to offer neighbors an opportunity to come in and eat the full menu without having to wait, and the best time to do that was during the lunch hour. “The larger kitchen and space allows us to do what we really wanted to do, which is to offer people more food,” says Stephens.
By passing that milestone, the crew is beginning to feel fully settled into its new place, and it’s “really, really happy,” says Stephens. “The cooks in the kitchen have really learned the new oven, and we think the pizza’s better than ever,” a relief, since employees and locals alike worried that changing addresses would change the way dishes turned out.
The new digs have also allowed Franny’s to take on an influx of Prospect Park-goers, a population Stephens says has grown considerably since the restaurant moved three blocks closer to the outdoor landmark, as well as fully contend with the traffic drawn by Barclays Center, and element that didn’t factor into the original plans for the restaurant.
“The neighborhood has shifted in every way possible,” says Stephens. “Anticipation was big, and once people knew it was coming, a lot of new business opened in the neighborhood, for better and for worse.”
As for what’s next now that Franny’s is more or less settled in? “Marco’s,” says Stephens. “We’re opening on September 2.” The partners held onto the old Franny’s location, and in it, they’re building an Italian restaurant. Longtime Franny’s chef Danny Amend will helm the burners, and he had this to offer in an e-mail on the concept: “I see the food at Marco’s to be a true Italian feast, reflective of all the regions of Italy. Wood-grilled and rotisserie meats and fish, fresh and dried pastas, and fruits and vegetables that are prepared simply and sourced locally.”
In the meantime, lunch at Franny’s runs from noon until 3 p.m. daily, and the restaurant reopens at 5:30 p.m. for dinner.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 2, 2013