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Frankie's Pizza

A Miami Classic

I first came to Miami in 1984 and I have to admit that for many years I ate nothing but Cuban and Latin American food in South Florida. After all, I could get Chinese, Italian, German, and other "ethnic" foods at home in Minnesota, but Cuban food was all new to me. Like a groom with a new bride, I wanted to spend all of my time with my newfound love.

So for many years, Joe's Stone Crab and I were complete strangers. I never wolfed down a thick corned beef sandwich at Wolfie Cohen's. I never sank my teeth into a juice spurting Arbetter's hot dog. I was baffled by the presence of Uncle Tom's barbecue at the gateway to my favorite Cuban Food Land on Calle Ocho.

As I made my way up and down Bird Road in search of the next Latin American treat, I frequently passed the little white building with the straight-from-the-50s "Frankie's Pizza" sign atop a large pole.

Year after year, I passed Frankie's by on my way to more Latin culinary pursuits. Then one day I was running a few non-food related errands along Bird Road when the lure of Frankie's finally sucked me in. What I found was a little hole in the wall place – no credit cards, no delivery, and no place to sit – that is as old as I am. And it looked like it had changed little if any from the days when it was pretty much surrounded by a few farms, dirt roads, and undeveloped Glades land.

The founder of the restaurant -- Frank B. Pasquarella -- must have been a math major because at Frankie's, the pie are squared, in true Sicilian style. Once you get past the shock of seeing a square pizza, you realize that the rectangular format has a lot going for it. It's a lot easier to hold without resorting to the New Jersey "fold the slice in half" method – so you don't have any hot fillings plummeting down onto your lap.

Frankie's does sell individual slices, which makes it a great stop for a quick lunch. You won't find any combinations on the menu – nothing like the "meat lovers" or "Eddie's Extra Special." Here you are left to your own appetites and imagination.

You start with the basic tomato sauce and cheese pie and then add your toppings: juicy Italian sausage with just a hint of fennel, thin slices of pepperoni curled at the edges and lightly browned in the oven, and a nice salami with a bright sausage flavor. Add some veggies – onions, green peppers, garlic, mushrooms, olives – and you have one great pie!

Did we say cheap? A very generous slice with your choice of five ingredients is just $2.10!

Don't pass on the fresh garlic; it gives the pizza a great bite and a wonderful aroma.

(by Glenn Lindgren)

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The Details

Frankie's Pizza
9118 SW 40th St
Miami, FL 33165
(305) 221-0221


PRICES: Inexpensive

Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. | Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Monday CLOSED



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