Franny’s Brooklyn, from Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, has caught our attention for a number of reasons: One being that so many people on The New Potato recommend it. And of course, we have a weakness for family businesses…and this couple’s header photo on their site is of their family! What – besides being environmentally responsible – is more appealing than that? Namely the food, but not much else; we chatted with the two (at their original restaurant, Marco’s) on all things surrounding their Brooklyn mainstay…
What would be your ideal food day?
Franny: For breakfast, a cup of Chaiwalla black tea. An hour later, a fresh juice like pineapple juice with mint. For lunch, the Ham and Gruyere sandwich at Brooklyn Larder. Or a pizza at the bar at Franny’s with a glass of the Piedirosso tap wine. Dinner would be at Marco’s: Franciacorta and grilled oysters, fritto misto, spit-roasted chicken…or alternatively, I’d end my day at Da Delfina in Artimino, Tuscany.
Andrew: For breakfast, coffee and donuts. For lunch, St. John in London, eating bone marrow, langoustines with mayonnaise and rabbit with a crisp Jura white wine, and Eccles cake for dessert with Madeira. For dinner, an unnamed rustic trattoria on the Amalfi coast, eating spaghetti cozze and a whole grilled fish. Limencello until I quit.
Common misconceptions about ‘local’…
Both: Trendy or not, we genuinely think it’s wonderful that so many restaurants are taking steps to purchase more locally and sustainably. Even if there are varying levels of commitment, it’s still great for our personal health and the well-being of our planet.
Your personal favorite restaurants besides your own…
Your favorite things about one another…
Andrew: Franny never gets mad at me.
What’s ‘the new potato’ of sustainable agriculture?
Both: Edible Schoolyard
What’s ‘the new potato’ of renewable energy?
Both: Green rooftops.
Advantages to a family-run business…
Franny: Our businesses are such an integral part of our personal lives; there is truly so little distinction between our personal and professional lives. Because of this, our children are being brought up in the restaurant world, the adult world, and the world of good food. Without question, this is shaping their identities and I believe this is giving them a huge source of strength and understanding of the world larger than themselves. I love this about our lives.
Andrew: We get to work together.
How do you divide up your priorities?
Franny: Andrew deals with all the maintenance stuff, and I deal with the finances and kids scheduling. We both deal with growth and future projects. There is honestly a lot of overlap.
Your go-tos when entertaining at home…
Both: We have an outdoor wood-burning grill at home, which is great because the clean-up is so much less. We usually start a dinner party with some kind of crostini and then often grilled vegetables with an entree. Last week, for example, we cooked up bruschetta and olives, grilled artichokes with rosemary and garlic and grilled chicken with salsa verde, paired with a briny Ligurian white wine.
If you could host a dinner party for any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you two cook?
Franny: Flannery O’Connor, Neil Young, my two children, Prue and Marco, and my Dad.
Andrew: Annie and Mike (our best friends), Elizabetta Fagioli (from Montendioli winery), Marcella Hazan, and Brandon Gillis (my great friend).
We would cook Asparagus Milanese, Bistecca Fiorentina with roasted potatoes, and a beautiful piece of cheese to finish.