Monday, March 8, 2010

Frank's Pizzeria (Since 1952)

-The other Chicago-style pizza: Tavern Style

By the sight of it from the outside, Frank's might look like its just a building, that used to house a pizza restaurant and is now vacated. However if you catch it from the right side when they are open you will see that half of one side of the old school neon sign still lights up. Frank's is a place that I only became familiar with recently. It was the classic sign that grabbed my attention as I was driving west down Belmont one day in the Montclare neighborhood. Its the bottom tenant in an old two story house and immediately upon entering you feel like your stepping back a few generations because everything is the same as it ever was. This was even evident for someone like myself who had never been until now. Its a tiny and some might say romantic spot with a cozy dining room. I imagine many kids who grew up in the neighborhood used to frequent Frank's both with their families, friends and while out on dates.

A familiar sign in Chicago's Montclare neighborhood

I doubt much has changed from the inside since they first opened up in 1952 and that's evident from the 1950's jukebox and weigh station. During my visit they had Frank Sinatra playing on the speakers and I felt like I stepped back into 1955. Inside it's dimly lit and there are also posters of Frank Sinatra and maps of Italy on the wall. To go along with the jukebox they have the classic square pattern tablecloths and both booths and tables with chairs as old as the restaurant itself. On my first and so far only visit we were the only people in there and had to knock on the door to the back kitchen to get our waitress' attention. When she came out I told her we were ready to go and wanted a large sausage pizza and a couple cans of pop and she replied "that's it?" Even the questions are old school at Frank's. I felt like it was Sunday night dinner.

View from our booth at Frank's

The old school red pepper, oregano and cheese

As I sat waiting I enjoyed the dining rooms vibe even though there was no one else in it. With Sinatra on the speakers it had a 1950's Italian supper club feel. It took about 20 minutes and the tavern style pizza they were famous for was ready to go. Frank's makes their own sausage and along with the sauce they were my favorite components of this pizza. What I didn't care for as much as other tavern style spots was the dough and crust. It was just really plain. Crispness wise it was weird because some pieces were really crisp and others not so much.

Thin crust sausage from Frank's...since 1952

Frank's tavern style had some decent crispness and was pretty thin

The bottom of a piece from Frank's

Franks has been serving the neighborhood going on 58 years now. On Tuesdays all pizzas are half off for take out and on Wednesdays all pies are half off for dining in. I didn't get to try anything else and even when I go back I wont pass on the pie. Surprisingly there's not much out there on the WWW about Frank's despite its lengthy history in Chicago. I'm betting that back in the 50's and maybe 60's it was a popular place to dine at and now its become a popular choice for delivery. All in all its another classic Chicago 1950's tavern style pizza parlor, the real Chicago style, with some pretty good pizza. If I lived in the area it would be my go to pizza place for delivery and dine in, especially on those half off days.

a piece of tavern style thin from Frank's Pizzeria

Rating Scale 5/5

crust: 3
sauce: 4
toppings: 4
Crispness: 3

Score: 15/20

Frank's Pizzeria
6506 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60634-3925
(773) 283-2564

Frank's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Franks is Great.

I've never had anything that I can recall having to complain about.

Next time you stop in, inquire and you'll find that Dennis the owner also caters his excellent food.

You stated Frank Sinatra was playing during your visit. Dennis is also a music lover and has a great collection of jazz cd's that they will gladly play upon request

My earliest recollection of Franks is as a very young lad.

At Neenah, the 7/11 was a gas station. One half block further on the north side of Belmont, was Kimball Candy, which was replaced by condos in the mid 1980's, as was the Milwaukee Road freight spur that served it. Also Franks' has outlasted Turner Bowling alley One block west on the south side of Belmont which was built in the
1960's and demolished and replaced by apartments in about 3 years ago.

So yes, I've been comming here for well over 50 years.

Along with their great Pizza, I also must admit that I'm addicted to Franks' Meatball Sandwich... be sure to try it.

Anonymous said...

Go get a NEW picture of Franks Sign fixed and ALL lit up.

BTW the Pizza was great, as was the music AND the suggestion for the Meatball Sandwich.

And (as of this posting) on Wednesdays the pizzas are 1/2 price.


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