Update: Grub Street confirms that Franny's will be moving into the former Blockbuster space further up Flatbush, doubling its size and adding a private party room. The current Franny's space will become Marco's, a full-scale Italian restaurant named after the owners' son, slated to open next year.
A couple months ago, when I spoke with neighborhood mega-landlord Michael Pintchik about his plans for the bunch of vacant storefronts (one of which has since been occupied by a Weight Watchers) on the south side of Flatbush Avenue, between Eighth Avenue and Sterling Place, he told me that the space that was last home to Blockbuster would next be occupied by a restaurant that "everyone's familiar with, and that everyone will love."
Much speculation followed, with everything from Shake Shack to Chipotle entering the conversation. But now it appears as if we have an answer: Franny's! Eater yesterday posted a link to a Mouthfuls post that seems pretty trustworthy, and when reached by phone owner Francine Stephens wouldn't comment. If it's true, a move into the much larger space would certainly cut back on the wait!
Click through for the entire Mouthfuls post.
"The big news is: FRANNY'S IS MOVING . . . to Park Slope.
Yes, Franny's is crossing the street to much larger quarters (much closer to my apartment, too -- so Prospect Heights' loss is my gain).
Their new location is of some interest to old Brooklynites. It's the former Blockbuster store on Flatbush between Sterling and 8th Ave. It was a Blockbuster for more than 20 years. Before that, however, it was a bistro. Not just any bistro. A bistro started by people who came out of the kitchen of La Cote Basque but, living in Brooklyn, wanted to take advantage of the lower real estate costs and cook for their neighborhood. In other words: early NBC! Too early, unfortunately: the bistro opened around 1985, and, excellent as it was, the neighborhood just wasn't ready to support it. It was a large space (happily for Franny's), and they couldn't fill it with French cooking. Soon, they put a divider down the middle of the dining room, and half remained devoted to French bistro food, the other half to fried whiting sandwiches. The fried whiting sandwiches did much better than the bistro food, and eventually the whole place went under and morphed into a Blockbuster.
The bistro truly was excellent. They served a bourride that, at least in memory, was even better than Alain Allegretti's. The bistro was also the site of the single most uncomfortable dinner I've ever attended, where my parents met my prospective in-laws for the first time.
Even more interesting, though, is the bistro's predecessor. It was a legendary Brooklyn catering hall that had closed just before I moved into the neighborhood. Generations of Brooklynites celebrated weddings and other occasions there. I can't recall its name. Maybe Steve R. can.
So now this will be the new expanded home of Franny's. As of now, I'm told they're planning on keeping roughly the same format. There will be two brick ovens. In addition to a large dining room, I'm told they'll have a private dining room and a take-out counter (which, given this location's proximity to two subway stops, will mint money). I'm betting there'll STILL be a wait for seating.
BUT that's not all. Franny's is also holding onto its current location. It will be used for some other purpose. I'm sure that one idea being bandied about is a fine dining restaurant. Since it's fairly near the new basketball arena, however, other uses suggest themselves as well. I'm told the kitchen facility (including the oven) will remain in any event, though."