Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Frankie & Johnnie's

After 89 years, Frankie & Johnnie’s steakhouse has closed -- and is moving not far from its origins.

Florence Fabricant noted in the Times last week:

"The steakhouse that started as a speakeasy in 1926 is moving a block from West 45th Street, where its building is being put to another use. The last day of service there will be Saturday [12/26], and the new location, once B. Smith’s, will open in early January: 320 West 46th Street, 212-997-9494, frankieandjohnnies.com."

I tried a few times, but never got to eat in this place. For a detailed report, see Brooks of Sheffield's 2012 piece in Eater, where he notes:

"Despite having dodged the wrecking ball, the owners of Frankie's nonetheless found a way to wreck the joint themselves. Soon after being saved, they ripped out the old hidden bar upstairs—a wonderful, ramshackle little getaway if you knew how to find it, where Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lanskey once drank alongside John O'Hara and Frank Sinatra, and Jason Robards Jr. pilloried Richard Nixon to his face. They then installed a faceless, blah bar on the ground floor, and scrubbed up and widened the entrance to the old staircase that winds it way up to the tidy, second-floor dining area.

These renovations were mistakes, and noticeably decreased the seedy charm of the place. Still, Frankie & Johnnie's retains more charm than most. Tucked away 15 feet above Eighth Avenue, its small windows shaded, it still feels like a speakeasy, the most Runyonesque of Times Square eateries. The bill of fare remains avowedly old school."

1 comment:

Patricia Kennealy Morrison said...

Ate there a few times in the 70s, when I worked at CBS Records. Not over-impressed. Better steak at any number of places, and the pasta dishes were blah. Still, it was cool and historic, so I'm glad to see it hasn't closed altogether.