I don’t remember exactly what prompted us to stop into Frankie’s that first time, only that the situation was awful and my kids, very small at the time, were upset. They’d suffered some disappointment or other, their weekend went wrong and they were cranky and aggravated and wherever we were going to eat supper was closed or something. I figured Frankie’s, a small place on Canton Road north of us, would be an expensive dinner, but one which might just cheer them up a little. Indeed it was pretty pricy, but it was excellent and did the trick perfectly. I then spent the next two years with my wallet locked away with the kids whining that they wanted to go back.
Honestly, I protest too much over a reasonable evening out for a nice meal – dinner for four will cost you about $60 – but this was back when I was raising the two children by myself on a pretty tight budget. Until I got my student loan paid off, I didn’t have the extra dollars. I bought a lot of garbage I didn’t need and deprived myself of some good meals, but we all make poor decisions.
That first trip, we had pizza and sandwiches. As befits a New York-styled Italian-American joint, they do these extremely well, but it wasn’t until Marie and I started dating quite some time later that I came back. I discovered the chicken scarpariello then and I don’t know what the heck else is on the menu anymore. This stuff is amazing.
Have you ever had chicken scarpariello before? It’s said to mean “shoemaker’s chicken” and it mixes sausage and chicken with mushrooms, olives, potatoes and pepperoncini in a thick, slightly spicy brown sauce. It’s not really Italian; it apparently was first concocted in Boston. I found a recipe for the dish at Almost Italian; that site suggests making sure you have bread to sop up the sauce. A wonderful blend of olive oil, wine, lemon and spices, I’ve been doing that for quite some time now.
After we got back from Memphis, we didn’t eat out for a couple of weeks, save to two places that we’ve already written up here in this blog. Last weekend, I suggested that Marie pick a place that we haven’t written up, either someplace new or an older favorite we haven’t visited in a while. It didn’t take her long to come up with Frankie’s. We have an excellent meal every few months here. It’s a small place, cozy, with a small parking lot. They have a second location a few miles away on the other side of Marietta which I’ve never visited. This one does us just fine. With its cute caricatures of Italian-American icons like Dean Martin and Don Corleone, it skirts the side of tacky but it pulls it off all right.
Marie usually has the pasta primavera. The kids don’t have favorites yet, but I think my son might want to have the stromboli again the next time he goes. It does the same things that the big chains do – endless garlic bread, bottomless salad – but it does it a whole lot better and with a really unique and classy style. Why anybody in Marietta would want to eat at an Olive Garden instead of Frankie’s is beyond me.
We’ve enjoyed meals here with each of our families and, last year, when we returned from getting married down on St. Simons Island, this is what Marie and I had for supper our first night back. I could stand a 20% off coupon every once in a while, but you know the place you enjoy your first married supper together and the place you eat with your folks? That’s a special place, really.