In 1962, my parents Frank and Pauline Conforti, opened Frankie’s Italian Restaurant in Huntington Station, Long Island, New York. The restaurant was cozy, family-friendly and popular for its homemade pizzas and meals, generous portions and modest prices. They captured their niche quickly, and it wasn’t long before Frankie’s became the kind of favorite neighborhood place that everybody wanted to consider their “own.” For a restaurant of its size (or for any restaurant for that matter), Frankie’s featured an ambitious menu, with numerous specialties, including desserts, which were lock, stock and barrel in my mother’s domain. Pauline’s homemade cheesecakes (she made three varieties) and tortoni, which she introduced into the restaurant in 1964, were legendary. (Tortoni? Remember tortoni?) Moreover, because the restaurant was small, take-out business was brisk, including the demand for pizza, which just about flew out the door. I remember my father, who is now deceased, telling me that for feeding big families (and he would know, he and mom raised five kids), “it was hard to beat pizza.”
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.