For fans of Frankie & Johnny's (321 Arabella St., 504-243-1234), Black Friday was a very good day. After completing repairs and upgrades, the eatery's new owners reopened the casual seafood restaurant Nov. 29.
The restaurant dates back to 1942, and the former owners shut its doors in February due to a number of difficulties, including well-publicized sanitation issues.
Current owners Anthony Macaluso and Woody Valls couldn't be happier with how everything is shaking out so far. "It's been very exciting," Macaluso says. "Opening day, people came in droves, and they were even waiting for us to open the doors."
The owners finished a thorough renovation. "We had to take all the walls down to the studs but kept the bar as is, and just refinished it," Macaluso said. "We also found that there were windows behind the paneling that were covered up, so we restored those as well. There's a lot more natural light in here right now. We wanted to renew the place but keep the same feel, so we made sure to put back the black-and-white checkered floor, which is one of the ways that people really know they're in Frankie & Johnny's."
Other additions include a new oyster bar and a kids' game room. There also is a renovated front porch offering alfresco dining.
Longtime patrons will recognize some returning waitstaff as well, including Cliff Smith, who managed the eatery for 18 years.
The menu promises the familiar fare from years past with some subtle changes. Old favorites including fried chicken and seafood, stuffed artichokes and bell pepper rings remain, but now salads can be topped with seared tuna, grilled shrimp and other options. There are 15 beers on draft, including several from local breweries, and the wine list was expanded.
From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, happy hour features 25 percent off all liquor, wine, beer and oysters. Frankie & Johnny's is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. — SCOTT GOLD