They share a first name and an intense love of casual Italian eats wherever they go in New York’s culinary landscape. The Franks have built an empire upon both, and it looks like they’re poised to expand its reaches very soon. Rumor has it that powerhouse duo Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli are adding another restaurant to the Frankies Spuntino family. We explored what they’ve already built and what could be next, as they take aim at Williamsburg for their next venture.
The whole thing started long ago in Queens, where the Franks grew up together as friends and neighbors. Though they gradually lost touch, as childhood friends are wont to do, but after 18 years, a chance encounter reunited the two chefs — and the results were delicious. Back in November 2003, both of the Franks were working as consultants in the food and nutrition worlds. After spending some time catching up, and realizing their shared interests even as adults, they knew the time was right to go into business together. Serendipity really does exist, folks.
Soon enough, they were searching for a place to build their first restaurant, when they happened upon the abandoned storefront at 457 Court Street. Together, they transformed the defunct space into the glowing beauty it is today, along with its tasteful Italian menu. According to their website, their plans had been to: “offer deceptively simple fare—dishes prepared with the freshest possible ingredients and a high level of attention. Service would be attentive, but never pretentious. Wines would be food-friendly and a great value, so there would be no reason not to like the place.” So painted walls were torn away to reveal majestic brickwork, cracked tiles gave way to wood floors and the tables filled with fresh crostini and cured meats. Then, on September 3, 2004, they opened the doors.
Those doors have been swinging on their hinges ever since. Frankies Spuntino (an Italian noun for “an informal meal or a snack; also, a casual Italian eatery”) has also opened a swanky spot over at 570 Hudson Street in the West Village. And that’s not all: they’re also the masterminds behind the ever-popular Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens, and Cafe Pedlar in Red Hook.
So what’s next for this talented duo? Whisperings from sources close to the Franks themselves point to a restaurant in South Williamsburg. Earlier this fall a liquor license application was sent to the Brooklyn Community Board 1 under the name Frankies 57 South 6th Street Spuntino, so buzz amped up that this would be the new spot. Though sources also say this deal has fallen through, after 10 years in business, the Franks are tenacious not to give up that easily. We’d recommend keeping eye out for other possible spots on the south side of the ‘Burg. In the meantime, at least we’ve got four more places to stuff ourselves with every bit of melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto and melt-in-your-brain coffee the Franks can serve us.