Frankies Spuntino: Two Franks, One Vision
Frankies Spuntino is a unique Italian restaurant run by owners Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. They have two locations; their original location in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn and a second in the Lower East Side in New York City. The restaurant first came to be in 2003, when the two friends randomly reunited after almost two decades and discovered how much they had in common. They had both grown up in Queens, New York and had culinary training in France, and also both had worked for star chefs in the 80’s and 90’s such as David Bouley and Charlie Palmer before running their own kitchens in New York.
After this serendipitous reunion and telling each other their tales of toiling in numerous professional kitchens, they realized that they both had a yearning to revisit the Italian-American cuisine of their childhood and the roots they both shared and loved so much. Together they came up with the concept Frankies Spuntino (‘Spuntino’ is Italian for “An informal meal or a snack; a casual Italian eatery”) which would stand for both of their culinary philosophies, travel and experiences and be a place where they could cook together. They envisioned offering traditional Sunday fare such as homemade Pastas, Sausages, Braciole and Sunday Sauce, the food that their Grandmothers used to make – home cooked, simple, and made with fresh, local ingredients. They aimed to lighten up the traditional Italian-American menu by offering healthy soups and sandwiches, fresh salads, simple roasted vegetables and small plates.
They opened their first location on 457 Court Street in Carroll Gardens in an old tenement building on a tree-lined street in Brooklyn. They envisioned building a restaurant that embodied Italian-American cooking but un-gimmicky, down-to-earth, with exceptional service and reasonable prices. No checkered tablecloths or excessive deep-fried foods - these were replaced with pressed tin ceilings and an antique-style bar custom-carved out of Mahogany and a simple, fresh and healthy menu based on their ancestors recipes handed down to them. The restaurant became a huge success in Brooklyn and only two years later in 2006, they opened their second location in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at 17 Clinton Street. Their menus differ slightly by location but they offer the same variety of foods and have nightly specials such as Pork Braciola Marinara, House-made Cavatelli with Hot Sausage and Browned Sage Butter, Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Raisins and Sweet Potato and Sage Ravioli in Parmesan Broth.Continued on the next page