Longtime neighborhood restaurateurs Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli are joining the city’s growing number of wine bars this week — bringing their own version to Carroll Gardens with hundreds of classic and natural wines along with small plates inspired by a slew of European cuisines.
The aptly named Franks Wine Bar opens Friday in the former tavern room of Prime Meats, at 465 Court Street, which the duo closed over the weekend after a nine-year run. Its closure gave way to a 30-seat bar serving about 400 different wines, four times what was previously offered in the space. Up to 25 selections will be available by the glass.
Glasses range from $11 to $24, and bottles start at $39, a price range wine director John Paterson hopes will reel in everyday diners multiple times a week, he says. The idea is to make the bar as accessible as possible, with the wine list divided by style like “light and aromatic red wines,” making it easy for less experienced wine drinkers to also to pick something they like, Paterson says.
As for bar food, the Franks say they wanted to serve “light and delicious fare,” which translated to small dishes like roasted red peppers and anchovies, salt cod croquettes, and beef carpaccio. Flavors come from across the Mediterranean, and generally from Italian, Spanish, and French cuisines.
But the menu is expected to evolve; eventually, diners may see a seared foie gras, a hot shrimp dish “somewhere between a scampi and a Spanish ajillo,” and a duck leg with romesco sauce and escarole on the menu, they say.
“In essence, it’s what we like to eat and what we think would be a great add to the neighborhood,” Falcinelli says.
The room also received an upgrade, with new lighting fixtures and a white marble bar added. The duo worked with the Springs Collective to design the space, the same firm that completed Frenchette.
The Prime Meats closure marked the first step in an empire change-up for the Franks, who will also expand their Italian restaurant next door, Frankies 457 Spuntino, into the space. The menu at Frankies will also get bigger, with dishes like linguine and clams, stuffed pastas, and grilled fish arriving later on. The duo is also working on a new pizza shop with help of Long Island grandma and Sicilian-style pizza legend Umberto Corteo, slated to open in March in the space that once held Cafe Pedlar.
In part, the changes aim to make Frankies a timeless neighborhood restaurant — and now with a new wine bar attached, the goal is that more people will be drawn into the Franks’ Brooklyn empire, they say.
“The neighborhood has changed a bit over the last 15 years, and we feel that a wine bar is a necessity at this point,” Falcinelli tells Eater.
Franks Wine Bar opens Friday, December 7, to the public, though friends and family have been stopping in this week. Hours will be 5 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on Friday. It’ll open at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.