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Why do two childhood friends from Queens settle on Carroll Gardens to open their first restaurant?

A premonition.

"I dreamt about a spot while I was in Japan," says Frank Falcinelli, formerly of Moomba in Manhattan. "And as I walked along Court Street, there it was."

With partner Frank Castronovo (Parish & Co.), Falcinelli went to work transforming an old bar with a turn-of-the-century blacksmith’s stable in the back into Frankie’s 457 Spuntino, which opened on Sept. 13.

After hearing the partners’ concept: offer delicious, small plates of Italian cured meats, artisanal cheese, sandwiches made on Sullivan Street Bakery bread, a couple of ceviches each day and inexpensive Italian wines by the glass and bottle, Falcinelli’s grandma Ann Martucci said, "Ah, you’re making a ’spuntino,’" Italian slang for a casual place for a snack or meal.

After finding their dream location, the two Franks transformed the former speakeasy into an inviting space with a tin ceiling, mahogany bar, back garden and a view of the old "smithy’s" shop.

Falcinelli is glad to be apart from the Smith Street fray.

"It’s a bit of a carnival over there," he says. "This area of Court Street is a real neighborhood. We want people to come in and eat or enjoy a glass of wine whenever they can."

Grandma Ann would approve.

Frankie’s 457 Spuntino (457 Court St. between Fourth Place and Luquer Street) accepts cash only. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Entrees: (small plates) $5-$9; (large plates) $11-$15. For further information, call (718) 403-0033.

Updated 12:33 pm, June 21, 2012
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