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Update: Franny's Moving up Flatbush, Original Space to Become Marco's

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."

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    Update: Franny's Moving up Flatbush, Original Space to Become Marco's - HOME - Here's Park Slope.
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Reader Comments (16)

What about outdoor space? Love Franny's outdoor space.

January 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjelly

Franny's is keeping their old space and turning it into a new concept. So there is just going to be more Franny's to love on Flatbush!

January 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

Those two stars Franny's got in the Times several years ago killed it as a spot for actual locals to get a table at during dinnertime, so a move to a bigger space will be great. I've never been as bullish on it as others have (mainly because nothing ever beats the simplicity of either New Haven pizza or DiFara's), but I'm certainly not going to hate on it AND the Larder gets plenty of my money no matter what.

Wouldn't it be funny if the OLD Franny's space becomes a Chipotle? ;)

January 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkPlace

Since I live directly across Flatbush, this is good news indeed! If I could use this forum to submit one request:

Dear Franny's - when you build your wonderful new space, can you please address the incredibly loud sound level that has kept me away from your original location? I find that during the summer I'm quite happy to dine in the lovely back garden, but otherwise, the high ceilings, echo-y hard surfaces and brick walls make it tough to have a conversation without yelling at my dining companions. I'm no sound engineer, but perhaps carpet, acoustic walls and upholstered chairs and banquets would go a long way to absorb all the cacaphony.

Best of luck!

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

The previous restaurant /catering hall before Blockbuster was Michelle's.
We too are looking forward to getting into Franny's. With a larger space and living around the corner I hope to spend plenty of dinners at the new space.
Any date on the move?

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheWarden

There has been an update on grubstreet today that Franny's is designing the Blockbuster space now, will start construction in May, move into the new space in November and then will open Marco's (named after their son) in the old Franny's space in spring 2013, serving up fresh pasta dishes and other Italian fare that they do so well.

It will take a while, but the new space will have two ovens, which take time to season I think. It will be worth the wait, in my opinion. A new Franny's twice the size of the old one with take out and delivery and a new Italian place, which is sure to be an instant success. Between those two and Woodland and Carlton Park, it seems almost odd to say, but Flatbush Avenue is becoming a possible restaurant destination.

Does anyone know when they are planning to start the streetscaping project slated for this area of Flatbush Ave?

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

The transformation of Flatbush Avenue also seems to be shaping up in a way that is the exact opposite of what the anti Atlantic Yards folks predicted. Unlike the area around Madison Square, the area around Barclays seems to be gentrifying in a way which is similar to other cities where inner city convention center/arena and hotel projects bring upscale amenities to otherwise underutilized or shabby ones. I don't believe the area was "blighted" as Ratner suggested, but the improvements so far in retail and dining seem to be going in a more upscale move and not the cries of a street of Taco Bells, strip clubs and Burger Kings as some had claimed.

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

Woodland never did open up, did it? That is starting to stink real bad.

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkPlace

Deanstreet: while I agree with you, I wish someone would explain who the target audience for Versailles, the bizzare dress store on Flatbush and above Dean, is. :)

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkPlace

Last thing: The concept for Marco's is disappointing. We need more classic Italian like we need a hole in the head.

Ironically, what I hoped to see was the Franny's empire equivalent of what the Frankie's gang did with Cafe Pedlar. If there's one thing the neighborhood can actually not have too many of, it's coffee shops, and there's not a higher end coffee shop walking in that direction on Flatbush (which, of course, is the direction I walk to work in.)

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkPlace

Flatbush Avenue would be a great place for a Stumptown Cafe to open up. Would get all the people from Park Slope, Prospect Heights, the tourists and the arena crowd, which the more I look at the events like Disney on Ice, Andrea Bocelli and horse-riding championships, the more it seems as though the people coming and going will be more yuppie than anything else.

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

About 50 year's ago Michel's was at the spot and was a popular place for wedding receptions. A number of my Aunts had their receptions there. The NY Times has an 1982 article regarding that section of Flatbush Ave
Charle's was wonderful in the 1980's...
It was followed by a french restaurant that had a nightly piano player but didn't last long
Don't remember how many restaurants were after the French place, but the last restaurant utilized the Michel's name.
It's a shame that the beautiful inside woodwork and the wooden revolving door under the marquee was removed by blockbuster :(

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaryAnne

Charlie's had wonderful steaks and oysters.
The French place had excellent food, the owners were always present, the waitstaff were kind and at least on weekends there was a pianist.... One of the waitresses moved to Mc Feeleys after the French place closed. I adored McFeeleys!!! .

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaryAnne

Unfortunately, being in the neighborhood since 2001, my only memory is Blockbuster. :(

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkPlace

The prior restaurant was Michel's, not Michelle's, and was in its heyday one of the most popular restaurants in Brooklyn. The Dodgers ate there after home games at near by Ebbet's Field. Many older Brooklynites recall with great fondness this fine restaurant where their weddings and christenings were celebrated, and those of their children, in many cases....

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill F.

Absolutely, Michel's was a wonderful place! :)

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaryAnne

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