Franny’s Serves Up March Madness With Pizza This Week Only


This week, Franny’s (348 Flatbush Avenue, 718-230-0221) will serve up March Madness — pizza-style.

The restaurant’s regular menu will be replaced with a special staff-crafted “Pizza Madness” menu with fifteen pies (and a calzone) that customers can vote on. Each night, the number of competing pizzas gets cut in half and the most popular pies move on to the next round. At the end of the week, the winning pizza will get a permanent spot on Franny’s menu.

“We take it pretty seriously,” says Julie Ann Dulude, the brains behind special events at the wood-fired joint. “It’s fun, but we take it seriously.”

Preparations for Franny’s third annual Pizza Madness showdown started a few weeks ago when employees came up with ideas for their entries. “The rule is, people can use anything that we regularly have in the kitchen to create their pizza — unless they want to be responsible for the ingredient personally,” says Dulude. “People think [their own special ingredients] might give them the edge, so I know that we have salt-cured pineapple, zaatar, and brown butter cabbage in the works this year.”

There’s a friendly rivalry between the staff members for the ultimate bragging rights. “The front-of-house staff think they’re the underdogs because for the last two years, a kitchen member has won,” Dulude explains. “So now, they’re really, really motivated. That said, I happen to know that our executive sous-chefs, Andrew Mumma and Ramell Chambers, are pulling out all the stops. They’ll be hard to beat this year.”

This year’s winner will be revealed on Friday night, but until then it’s up to customers’ dollars to cast votes. “It’s honestly anyone’s guess who will win,” says Dulude.

All of the competition pizzas are cooked by unbiased pizzaioli, and to give Franny’s staff a fighting chance, executive chef Jonathan Adler stays out of the competition. “We wanted to give people a chance to shine and really celebrate what a creative place this is to work…what great ideas people have,” explains Dulude.

So what will diners see on the menu?

“Personally, I think we’ll be seeing a lot of clams,” Dulude says. “Last year, due to weeks and weeks of freezing temperatures, there were actually no clams anywhere on our menu for over a month. The clam shortage unfortunately overlapped the week of Pizza Madness! I believe the ‘Fra Diavolo’ will have its shot this year, finally!”

Though toppings are king in the competition, a good pizza name can push pies the extra mile. Past names have included the “Piggly Wiggly” and the “Okey Dokey Artichokey.”

Dulude will also have a pizza in the competition: the “Federal Hill,” which she describes as an ode to her home state of Rhode Island. Does Dulude feel confident about her pie? “Well, it is a really good pizza.”

Franny’s Pizza Madness runs this week only, with the winner announced on Friday. Check out the original lineup at Franny’s this week:

IT’S HERE YOU GUYS. Feast your eyes on the first 8 of the Sweet 16! #tonightsthenight #pizza #pizzamadness #frannyspizzamadness2016 #crazygoodtime #staff #competition #braggingrights #stakesarehigh

A photo posted by Franny’s Brooklyn (@frannysbk) on

NOW THATS A MEAN SIXTEEN. The other 8 entries for this year’s Pizza Madness competition at @frannysbk !! Every pie was created from scratch by either a cook in our kitchen, a Sous chef, a front of house manager, and one created by Franny herself. #tonightsthenight #pizza #pizzamadness #frannyspizzamadness2016 #crazygoodtime #staff #competition #braggingrights #stakesarehigh

A photo posted by Franny’s Brooklyn (@frannysbk) on

Here are night two’s eight pizzas on the menu:

We might not get tomorrow, just give us tonight. #frannyspizzamadness2016 #marchpizzamadness #pizza #staff #competition #tonightsthenight #stakesarehigh #braggingrights

A photo posted by Franny’s Brooklyn (@frannysbk) on

And here are Franny’s final four ‘zas:

Ladies and gentlemen, your Pizza Madness FINAL FOUR!!! May the best pie win. #frannyspizzamadness2016 #marchpizzamadness #pizza #staff #competition #braggingrights #stakesarehigh #finalfour

A photo posted by Franny’s Brooklyn (@frannysbk) on

Reservations can be made on Franny’s website.