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A Conversation with Francine Stephens of Franny’s

April 18, 2012
Franny's is a top pizza destination in Brooklyn. (Photo by: Franny's)

The evening before I spoke with Francine Stephens about her upcoming cookbook and plans for a new restaurant, an interesting tidbit caught my eye. Frank Bruni, the former New York Times food critic, tweeted about Clean Plates-approved Franny’s: “‘Salad’ doesn’t cover the arugula and mustard greens at Bklyn’s Franny’s. So fresh. So perfect. Love this place.”

In addition to serving up delicious pizza in their Prospect Heights restaurant–read our review here–husband and wife co-owners, Francine Stephens and chef Andrew Feinberg, have a real commitment to sustainable practices. Check out this page on their website to learn how they created an environmentally responsible business.

Q: The menu at Franny’s changes every day; if you were to sit down and dine tonight, what you order?
A: I would need to have the spicy salami and the arugula, mustard greens, and chicory salad–it’s so fresh and perfect right now. Then I’d probably have the spaghetti cacio e pepe (spaghetti with cheese and cracked black pepper), a classic.

Q: It’s a major talking point that you don’t cut your pies. Any comments?
A: They don’t cut their pies in Naples; pizza there is always served whole. We took our cue from the originators. I don’t think it’s so complicated: Here’s a knife, here’s a fork, do your thing. I will say though that in the last month we got larger, flatter plates that make it easier than ever to cut your pie.

Q: Why do you think Franny’s has remained so popular over the years?
A: Our menu is honest to who we are and customers appreciate that honesty. I think the most important thing is that the experience is consistent. Customers know what they’re going to get every time.

Q: I’ve heard about a cookbook and a new restaurant. Can you share any details?
A: It’s a large cookbook with amazing photography. Food from the book will be exactly like the restaurant: The recipes were incredibly well-tested. It is going to contain the best of the last eight years and include all sections of the menu. As far as what’s next for the restaurant, Franny’s is moving to a different location and we will open a new restaurant in the original space, Marco’s, focused on what my husband is interested in cooking now.

Q: If you had to name one underrated dish you wish people would order more, what would it be?
A: The extra virgin olive oil and sea salt pizza. It’s all about tasting the dough.

Images courtesy of Franny’s.

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