By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @blogfinger
In 2015 we featured Frank’s Deli and Restaurant in a BF post, and now we re-post it for 2017, with some updates. Not much has changed. Here is a quote from that piece:
“You might also be tempted to turn into Frank’s Restaurant where everybody goes for breakfast and lunch including cops, contractors, politicians, bloggers, realtors, homeboys, celebrities, wayward Grovers, and stylish types from across the border on Cookman Avenue.”
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Frank’s, a local family-owned place where they have been cooking breakfast and lunch since 1960. It has a very down-home feel. You can sit at a table or at the counter where you can watch the chefs work—poetry in motion. “Those fries are getting cold; dump them and serve some hot ones,” says the cook; he is at the grill and he is a perfectionist.
He watches his little assembly line, with his back to the counter and he doesn’t miss a detail. He turns around and asks us if everything is OK. They make more eggs, toast and bacon than any other place in the area. Frank’s is a destination with a pedigree–more so than any of the newly arrived eateries on Cookman-by-the-Grove.
The waitresses are attentive. They seem to know everybody and they are friendly and accommodating—-not like the diner waitress who waited on Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces. If there are any waiters, we haven’t seen one. Besides, gender is out these days—–they are all “servers” However, at Frank’s you feel like political correctness is not on the menu. It is a place to relax and speak freely.
Joe Maggio is the owner and the main-man at the grill. His father started the business. We go there often, but he was on vacation this time. However, his staff wasn’t missing a beat. One of the cooks noticed an elderly man near the end of the counter near where we were sitting. He called him by name and said, “How about a grilled cheese; I’ll make you one now.” The man grinned and said, “Thanks.”
You can walk up to the deli counter and order a superb sub. made to order. Even Bruce Springsteen visits Frank’s, and he included Frank’s in a 2012 music video. Bruce likes the turkey club. In 2015, Anthony Bourdain and Southside Johnny visited Frank’s while CNN filmed the episode for Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” show.
We get a kick out of the diverse clientele who are going in and out of Frank’s which reminds me of some places my friends and I frequented when we were in high school in Rutherford. We would go to towns like Lyndhurst or Passaic to get soul food: pizza and burgers.
At night, after walking up and down Park Avenue in Rutherford, we would visit Stio’s, a family luncheonette and ice cream place near the tracks that was so old, everyone and everything there seemed to be in slow motion. But all sorts of characters would show up, and we would laugh and joke and kid the owners. Frank’s takes me back to that sort of Jersey place. If you are from Jersey, you need a dose of that every once in a while.