Pizza Lunch: Franny’s Brooklyn

two pizzas from franny's brooklyn pizzeria
From left: Franny’s justifiably famous clam pie, and a pizza with squash blossoms, zucchini, anchovy, and cherry tomatoes (which was a bit salty for my favor).

Franny’s was an immediate success when it first opened on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue in April 2004. So much so that there were notoriously long waits for its then dinner-only service. The restaurant eventually started lunch service and at some point expanded seating by opening its garden. Not even all those moves did the trick, and the place moved to more spacious digs earlier this year.

The new space is absolutely beautiful. Unassuming from the sidewalk, the pizzeria is minimal and warm inside, with penny-round tile flooring, blonde wood shelving holding artfully arranged supplies, firewood, the Franny’s cookbook, and what have you. There are two pizza ovens (Mugnaini Valorianos) and more prep space than I remember at the old place. Honestly, the amount of seating didn’t seem drastically increased, but maybe I didn’t see all of it.

But, the pies. The clam pie (clams, chiles, and parsley; $18) was as good as ever. It’s my belief that this clam pie is the progenitor of several notable clam pies in the region. Motorino’s is similar, as is Barboncino’s (Crown Heights) and Pizzetteria Brunetti’s. The other pie we ordered was a bit on the salty side for me—perhaps due to the anchovies. Joining those pungent little fish were zucchini, squash blossoms, buffalo mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes ($18). I generally avoid anchovy pies not because of the saltiness (I don’t mind salt) but because of the fishiness. Here, the anchovy fillets lent it just enough flavor of the sea without being obnoxiously fishy. Had the entire thing been dialed back a bit on salt, I would have enjoyed it more.

Service was gracious and friendly, and the atmosphere was laid back yet understatedly sophisticated in that sort of New Brooklyn yuppie way. That is not a dig, just an observation. It is “New Brooklyn” in a different way than, say, Roberta’s is “New Brooklyn.” I wish I would have taken pictures of them, but the chairs there looked like they had come from an older ’70s era school. Very DIY/renewable chic. The kind of thing I would think of using if I were to open a place and that would go on my secret Pinterest board titled “Pizzeria Inspiration.” What, you think I’m joking about that board?

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