Returning home to the South was always part of the plan for John Burns Paterson. The restauranteur and Alabama native — whose culinary trajectory took him to New York, where he served as wine director for Frankies Spuntino Restaurant Group — figured he would open up his own restaurant in Nashville after submitting his resignation. “When I gave notice to the Franks [Frankies’ owners Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli] I thought it was the end of a chapter. But they wound up telling me they wanted to support the dream and expand Frankies outside of NYC for the first time,” says Paterson.
The beginning of that dream came to fruition with the opening of Frankies Pizzeria in East Nashville this past summer — the first expansion outside of New York in the restaurant’s 20-year history. But one of the most significant pieces of Frankies’ vision for Nashville had yet to come to fruition. That is, until today, when the flagship restaurant of the Brooklyn-born brand, Frankies 925 Spuntino, officially opens its doors to the public.
The space, which is situated in a former mattress factory within the Laurel and Pine development, seats 75 people and features an eight-seat bar from the 1800s that was salvaged in upstate New York from the historic Stonewall Inn. “Frankies in Brooklyn is on the ground floor of a brownstone. Frankies Nashville somehow possesses the same intimacy, which is why we knew this was the spot from the moment we walked in.” Paterson also notes the East Nashville location’s expansive “campus,” which features lush green foliage and open spaces with enough room for future outdoor patio service.
Italian-American dishes pepper the menu at Frankies 925, which will carry through classics from the Brooklyn location. The Sicilian-style meatballs with pine nuts and raisins, cold ribeye with sea salt, and gnocchi marinara are carryovers from the New York menu, as are the ricotta cheesecake and red wine-soaked prunes with mascarpone.
But Paterson says that the Nashville menu will evolve, while still remaining resolutely Frankies. Part of that evolution is inspired by the restaurant’s relationship with local purveyors. “We’ve been working with some local farmers to develop new dishes inspired by their amazing products — Bear Creek beef, for one; Harpeth Moon’s chicories and carrots; and Corner Spring beans and peppers,” adds Paterson. In a nod to Paterson’s Southern upbringing, country ham will make its way onto the antipasto plate in Nashville.
Following the launch of Frankies 925 Spuntino will be the Bottega at Frankies which will feature an assortment of prepared foods and products including a complete selection of products from Frankies 457 Specialty Foods, Castronovo and Falcinelli’s product brand. Some of the offerings include olive oil produced in Selinunte, Sicily, and a new line of pasta.
“Frankies and this city seem like they’d get along — the warmth, the connection to music, the feeling of it,” says Paterson. “We’re honored to be joining what is probably the most exciting food city in America right now.”
Check out the menu below.