Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, the couple who opened Franny's more than a decade ago, met at Savoy, Peter Hoffman's now closed Soho temple of greenmarket cooking. There they discovered a mutual love for Italian food and dovetailing perspectives on sustainable agriculture. And so they knew that when they eventually opened a restaurant together, it would showcase those interests. At the suggestion of a family member, they settled on pizza — despite the fact that “I'd never cooked pizza before," says Feinberg. No matter. Soon the kitchen was turning out blistered pies painted with tangy marinara and topped with fresh mozzarella that easily competed with the best pizzas in the city, and people were coming in droves, clogging the entryway of their small shop with hours-long waits. (Though Franny's has since expanded into bigger digs down the street, the wait has followed.) Beyond turning out good pizza, Feinberg and Stephens were early adopters of the farm-to-table mantra that has become ubiquitous in our restaurant industry: They vowed from the beginning to be transparent about where all of their ingredients and supplies come from, and they led by example in developing relationships with Greenmarket purveyors. Above all, they are strong believers in restaurants being an integral part of their community, and they continue to push Franny's to be what makes it so charming: the ultimate neighborhood restaurant.
© 2015 Village Voice, LLC, All Rights Reserved