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Franny's, I'm over it

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I used to love Franny's. I was there the first month they opened, and loved how the pizzas changed frequently. I could even stomach the prices for the exceptional quality.

However, while the appetizers have gotten more interesting, it seems that the pizza menu *(the real draw) hardly changes. Well, there was the recent change where they took the very excellent provolone picante pizza w/ roasted onions, and stopped roasting the onions; now they are raw. Not worth ordering.

Further, they used to do fabulous things with pancetta that went way beyond the now-predictable meat pizzas that have been on the menu for ages.

Please, bring the pancetta back--especially the one w/ the fried egg.

ok, finally. Franny's has great wines...but $12 a glass? Some really solid $7-10 options would be much appreciated.

all that being said, amazing pizza and unusual and nicely selected wines...but please, please start listening to your regular customers.

thanks.

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  1. overpriced, overrated, good p.r.

    1. listening to your customers is something the chef's never been inclined to do, as far as i know. when Franny's first opened the NY Times ran a splashy feature, along the lines of cooking at home w/ the chef/owner and his wife, and he made all kinds of obnoxious comments about how customers had raved about one of his creations that was no longer on the menu and had begged him to bring it back, but he was 'only interested in doing whatever he felt like' and wasn't about to be dictated to by his customers, or something to that effect. i found it so incredibly off-putting and annoying i never got around to checking the place out, despite early enthusiasm to do so. that, coupled with things i've heard about wine prices and even pie prices, no matter how good they may be, was enough. there's just too much good stuff out there in NYC and life's too short to line up like a masochistic foodie for this kind of treatment. it is, after all, called the 'hospitality industry.'

      1. man, there are some real lovers and haters for Frannys on these boards, arent there. i first read tons of good stuff bout them across the web but recently it seems a little wierd...i still would love to try them out - even if theyre specifically NOT a pizza joint, but a proper restaurant, as it were. i think with all the normal 'joints' out there, theres more than enough room for a nicer place. gourmet pizza is also something that is only foreign or new to us in the US, in Italy nearly all pizza makers would consider themselves artisans or gourmet.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ben61820

          I don't know where you get your pizza in italy, but from my experience, pizza in italy is not usually considered "gourmet." It may be far far better than most pizza here (and it usually is) but in rome and naples (the two places of which I have knowledge) pizza is still considered, like it is here, to be a faster, cheaper meal than a regular trattoria or restaurant.
          Many pizza makers do consider themselves artisans, but that doesn't mean they are expensive. and the issues with franny's have to do with price, not quality. So, to me, franny's is very unitalian, in that it is charging high prices for something that is meant to be cheaper/more accessible.

          1. re: missmasala

            Great reminder, and thanks. At its best in Naples and Rome, pizza is made with artisanal care and obsession. But it's always casual, relatively cheap, and unpretentious; in fact, many trattorie that have an oven will only serve pizza in the evenings, as a kind of light supper. I've had great pizza in Naples for 5 euros a pie, with a 4 euro bottle of local wine. And felt like royalty.

            1. re: missmasala

              point taken miss masala. and yes, i was referring to philosophical standpoint of most of the pizzamakers in Italy that i met. just in that they were devoted, or at least interested, in what they do. they are invested on a level deeper than MOST of the american pizzamakers i come across. notice i said MOST. not all. Lucalli's is, for just one example, a clearcut exeption. that man and team put their all into their product. and it shines through in the meal you get.

              1. re: ben61820

                totally agree on lucalli's. great pizza by someone who puts his all into it. his mentor, BTW, is dom from difara's, another great example of what pizza should be, in the italian style--not expensive, but made with care and delicious.

          2. I've never been a fan -- sure, the pizza's tasty, and I don't mind paying for quality and atmosphere, butI've never found the people working there to be particularly hospitable. The place has a downright "snotty" vibe to it that I have no patience for.

            1. This thread will probably get removed but I'm going to put my 2 cents in anyway. I don't like to be too negative about a person's business venture, bad Karma and all that, but when it comes to Franny's I can't really think of a good thing to say.
              Wait, yes I can. They have a really well built wood-burning oven. It's the best thing about the place. But they waste it on these cute, pretentious, overpriced pizzas. Maybe they'll go out of business and somebody with real pizza talent will move in? The potential is there but they're too hung up on themselves to take advantage of it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gnu23

                Im a neighbor and we've been to Franny's once only. The food was delicious and I do like Franny. So why only once? Its pricey and its a scene (not our scene). Personally Id rather go over to Amorina, very good food (maybe not QUITE as good) but definitely cheaper and not as much of a THING. Frankly, different strokes for different people, its ok not to like a place but to pretend they are going to go out of business because you dont - well thats just fantasy, they are doing a great business and deservedly so, if they can pull it off.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  I said "maybe" they'll go out of business. I don't wish that on them. I'm only speculating as to what may lead to a better use of the enormous oven they've built. I'm responding to the OP who was voicing frustrations about the limited menu, high prices and lack of variation. I used to be a Franny's regular (the scene never bothered me) but now I don't go back for those reasons.
                  All other aspects aside, the food is delicious and it is prepared well. The topic of this thread is that it's not enough to just have a handful of delicious items that are overpriced. There is just too much competition.

              2. The food IS delicious and well prepared -- at least the last time I was there. I've never been unhappy with a meal at Franny's. Yep, the wine is expensive, but they are just following the formula set forth by Batali at Otto. I've loved my pizzas, loved my vegetables, loved my cocktails at Franny's. As long as I know what I'm going for, I'm perfectly happy.

                1. As Yogi Berra once said, "it's so crowded that nobody goes there anymore"

                  1. After reading so many raves about Franny's here and everywhere else I was eager to try it but never got around to it until recently. I was very disappointed and won't go back. First is the price - our meal for four people, which included 4 of the pizzas (big enough to serve one person, two tops if you're not too hungry), meatball appetizers (I think there were 5 tiny meatballs for $11), olives (for which we were charged), one glass of wine and a couple of sodas) topped out at over $100 not including tip. The food and overall experience were in no way worth that kind of money. I don't mind paying top dollar for great food and a great ambience but this surely wouldn't qualify. Pizza was the only thing offered that could have been considered an entree as everything else was strictly appetizer size - and there weren't that many apps offered anyway. The pizza was good but not as extraordinary as I'd been led to believe - it's nothing I'd go out of my way to get. The restaurant was so loud that it was very difficult to have a conversation. I can understand that its upscale pizza joint/bar action may appeal to those who want a scene but I can't imagine why anyone else would go there.

                    1. Well, here are two more cents for the pot: I hadn't really followed all the hype about Franny's, although I'd of course seen it mentioned here and there. Was not too excited about some snotty pretentious pizza joint, which is what my first impression was, but boyfriend suggested going one night and I figured what the heck.

                      We had an excellent meal, basically flawless. The scene was a bit much for me, but I'm a total homebody most of the time so there was an element of fun to it. I balked at the price of the "rose petal martini" I ordered, but it was the best cocktail I've ever gotten at a restaurant, by far. Soppressata was great (duh--how does one go wrong?), bean crostini completely exceeded my expectations, and the bitter greens salad with creamy citrus sauce was inventive and delicious. The pizza was very good, no complaints, but the least exciting item of the evening (we had pizza with anchovies and chile). Wine and espresso were fantastic.

                      After so many lukewarm restaurant experiences of late, I was very happy with my Franny's experience. I can't imagine going there once a week (budget! scene! variety!), but I'll be happy to go back.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bloodorange

                        well, id just like say that its nice to read some positive comments for the place. i havent been there but i figured there had to be a whole bunch of really happy people out there since the place is apparently always crowded. gotta be doing something right, no?

                      2. "but i figured there had to be a whole bunch of really happy people out there since the place is apparently always crowded. gotta be doing something right, no?"

                        Following that logic, the best restaurants would be the ones that have the biggest crowds. That's not necessarily true and I could give you lots of examples of mediocre restaurants that do great business. In the case of Franny's it's probably best for you to go and make up your own mind.

                        1. Why do they not cut their pizza's? Does this annoying habbit have some basis in tradition? And if they aren't going to cut them (our server told us this was not possible) why don't they give you something other than a cheap steak-knife and an undersized plate? Aside from that, the pizza is quite good and the service seemed knowledgable and unabtrusive. I'm personally not someone who is looking to make friends with the service staff, nor do I really care how hip the place is or isn't. I think too many critics get hung up on superficialities like these and forget that professionalism (as opposed to obsequiosness (sp?)) and a good product are what it's about.

                          1. In my mind, the pizza at Franny's is the closest thing in NYC to pizza in Italy and throughout most of continental Europe -- very thin, crispy crust, pies meant for one, and, yes, uncut. Its really a totally different animal that "NY Style" pizza.

                            Perhaps it is a bit on the pricey side, but I've never been less than impressed with the wonderful pizzas there. Its not Di Faras, but it isn't meant to be -- once again, totally different thing.

                            I really don't understand all the "hating".

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: elecsheep9

                              thanks for summing up my thoughts.

                              1. re: elecsheep9

                                yes, it is the closest thing to certain italian pizzas (think naples and not rome, where pizza is much thinner) though there are a few other NYC contenders for that.

                                For me, the issue with franny's has never been the quality--it's the price. I just think it is too expensive for what it is. I dunno, call me crazy, but great pizza (and other things), prepared properly, shouldn't cost so much. it doesn't in italy.

                                but hey, people pack the place. if he can charge a lot and get away with it, then why not, i suppose.

                                1. re: missmasala

                                  Is there anything to the point that we're not in Italy, and it costs a lot more to fly to Italy than to have a meal at Franny's? I also don't think it's just a pizzeria; instead, it's a place to have a multi-course meal with wine, including an excellent artisanal pizza. I've been there only once but really liked it and would like to go back again, maybe fairly soon, now that the weather is getting warmer and sitting in the garden may be a reasonable thing to do once more.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    point taken, but here are my two cents:

                                    1) other places here manage to make great pizza for less

                                    2) yes, you could claim it's not just a pizzeria, and it's true that they have great apps and nice (tho small) cocktails, but last time I went (which admittedly was a while ago) they didn't have a lot of non-pizza main course options (if any).

                                    I guess what it comes down to is that I don't want an expensive multi-course pizza meal. Or at least, not very often. But clearly, plenty of people out there do want that, and since i have no quibble with the quality of the food franny's serves, i can only wish them the best, as really, it's all about food quality.

                                    1. re: missmasala

                                      Well, note that I've been there only once. I wouldn't want to go there very frequently, either. But that doesn't make it other than really good - assuming the quality has remained at the level I once experienced.

                              2. I think it's totally legitimate to expect a staff and ownership to be responsive to customers. I have had two great meals, but I won't go more often because of the snotty attitude and steep price. It's a bummer, because the food is amazing.

                                1. It may be expensive, but I have to say, I'm always very happy with my pizza and whatever else I order there. The wine adds up, but other than that, it's an utterly satisfactory+ dining experience. I've paid as much (and by the way, I don't think $25 per person is a lot) at other restaurants and not been nearly as happy with my meal. I'd rather have a great pizza than a mediocre whatever.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bebevonbernstein

                                    I don't think $25 pp is a lot either; in fact, I expect to pay around $40pp with wine, dessert, etc. But if you're getting out of Franny's at under $25, then you are def. not having wine (which begins at $9 a glass and tops out around $12), and you most certainly are not having an app. So, you are right, $25 is not a lot--but it is for a persona-size pizza, tax and tip.

                                    don't get me wrong, i started this post by saying that I have deep affection for the food and wine at Franny's. But seriously ridiculous prices, and as is clear from these posts, they are not responsive to their customers' requests...

                                    1. re: carroll

                                      Is it still crowded? If it is, then they seem to be responding to, or at least serving the wishes of more than enough people to stay in business.

                                  2. I really wish people would stop thinking about Franny's as a pizza place - even if the good folks at Franny's consider it one as well. Pizza places, then, automatically get derailed to mean some place where children can order "...the biggest pizza in the Universe!" (which I recently overheard from some 8 year old brat climbing over the seat). Franny's is a fantastic place to go and sit for an hour or more and enjoy wonderfully prepared food - utilizing only the freshest produce and meats (some expertly made in-house). The emphasis, here, seems to be slow-food...not gorging.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: sourmilk

                                      Well I also think the food is very well prepared and using the best ingredients but $14 for an escarole salad made with grated cheese, which I had the foolishness to order, is really over the top.

                                      1. re: dimples

                                        Im sort of imagining that with their crowd, they get a lot of young women who will only order the salad and drinks and nibble on their partner's pizza - It sort of understandable for them to price up this kind of item to make some profit on the seat.
                                        Different people have different value propositions - someone who likes the vibe and a little to nibble on are not going to have a problem with Frannys - someone who expects a hearty meal may.