They’re big in Prospect Heights and now they have the book to prove it

Flatbush Avenue’s Famous: Franny’s hits bookshelves with expansive recipe collection

for The Brooklyn Paper
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These two sure have a lot of baking dishes in the fire.

Already this year, Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, the couple that owns Prospect Heights pizzeria Franny’s, has moved the pie shop to a bigger location and opened a classic trattoria in the old digs, all the while holding down the fort at Bklyn Larder, their cheese shop. And somehow, amidst it all, the duo has managed to assemble a 400-page cookbook named for their famous pizza restaurant. The book features more than 200 recipes based on the Flatbush Avenue eatery’s simple Southern Italian fare and the authors will be at PowerHouse on 8th on Oct. 19 signing copies while Melissa Vaughan, co-author of “The New Brooklyn Cookbook,” prepares seasonal Franny’s dishes.

We caught up with Stephens shortly before the opening of Marco’s last month and she dished on their foray into the publishing world and why cookbooks matter.

Meredith Deliso: After nearly 10 years of running Franny’s, why publish a cookbook now?

Francine Stephens: I am always a bit surprised about how much people love Franny’s. People tell me stories about so many of their important life events: birthdays, marathons, and even their break-ups. One couple told us they set rules about who could go to the restaurant on what night! Franny’s has been an integral part of our community and so many people’s lives. This is our way of giving back to our community.

MD: What did you hope to give fans and home cooks?

FS: Andrew loves cookbooks. He is always reading and re-reading his favorites and buying new ones for inspiration and ideas and cultural and historical accuracy. While Andrew went to cooking school to learn techniques, his own style and knowledge of Italian food comes entirely through cookbooks. If we can add to this in any way, well, that is our goal.

MD: What has the reception been like?

FS: People are really using the cookbook. They are cooking from it and eating dinner at home. That is a huge achievement for us.

MD: What are some of your favorite recipes in the cookbook?

FS: I love the celery, fennel, and pear salad with pecorino and walnuts, the broccoli soup, and the spaghetti with herbs and ricotta. Maybe because that is what I feel like eating right now!

MD: You also recently celebrated some restaurant business with the new Franny’s location and the opening of Marco’s. How have things been going with the move and your opening?

FS: Marco’s just opened, so it’s quite new. It was a big year for us, moving Franny’s, publishing the cookbook and then opening up Marco’s. We are looking forward to settling into our lives now.

MD: Both restaurants are on Flatbush Avenue. Why was it important for you to stay there?

FS: Our community is there. It’s home for us.

“Franny’s” book signing and cooking demonstration with Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Vaughan at PowerHouse on 8th [1111 Eighth Ave. between 11th and 12 streets in Park Slope,]. Oct. 19, 4–5 pm, free.

Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
If you'll pardon me, I'm about to say something that makes quite a little sense. It's very important that this cookbook shall 1) be somewhat confusing, 2) conveniently leave out secret ingredients, and C) cost a lot of money.

"People are really using the cookbook. They are cooking from it and eating dinner at home. That is a huge achievement for us."

Cooking at home is not what any restaurant owner that I know of shall want to achieve. Please forgive me, as this is just one man's opinion.
Oct. 14, 2013, 11:56 am

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