DINING: New owners at Frankie & Johnny's

FRANKIE & JOHNNY’S PIZZA AND ITALIAN RESTAURANT

Where: 24600 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs at the Shoppes at Pelican Landing

Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. daily

Information: 949-2125 or 949-2126 or visit www.fandjpizza.com

-- Name: Frankie & Johnny’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant

-- Style: Casual and family friendly

-- Owners: Chuck Artino and John Rapp

-- Seating: 50 indoors and 20 outdoors

-- Happy Hour: None

-- Entertainment: Call for details about performers from hit recording singers to local favorites.

-- The Scoop: On December 1 of last year, owners, Chuck Artino and John Rapp took over as the new management of Frankie & Johnny’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, after the former owner had to move north to tend to family business. Artino started cooking as a youngster, helping and watching his mother and grandmother in the kitchen. He continued cooking at various establishments in the Bronx and honed his skills. Artino then worked with Rapp in Aspen as well as at the local Sanibel Steakhouse.

Featuring authentic Italian dishes for dinner as well as pizza, the spot is set to be a go-to spot to hear the best of local entertainment. On some nights, fifties and sixties recording artists may treat diners to impromptu performances after appearances at local concerts. You may see the singers like Larry Chance of The Earls, Johnny Maestro of Johnny Maestro and The Brooklyn Bridge, and The Crests, or The Duprees drop by to enjoy a great meal, and then sing a few tunes.

-- From the owner: “We truly have amazing food, a great atmosphere and the best New York style pizza in the area, if not, in the whole state. Our pasta is homemade and you’ve got to try or tiramisu and cannoli,” said Artino. When asked where they buy their bread, in true Bronx style, Artino joked: “If I give you that information, I’d have to kill you.”

-- Diners’ Favorites: Linguini and clam sauce is a big favorite, along with veal dishes. Beer and wine is available.

-- Sample menu items:

Pizza (12 inch $12.95-$16.95 and 16 inch ($14.95-$16.95): House special (sausage, pepperoni, mushroom and basil), Italian style white pizza (garlic, oil, mozzarella, basil and Romano cheese), to vegetarian pizza and Coppoletta special (Sicilian pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, provolone, pecorino, Romano and basil) to Louie La Femina’s pizza (prosciutto, tomato, basil, garlic and mozzarella).

Dinner Starters ($7.95-9.95): Fried calamari, tomato, mozzarella and basil, bruschetta to Buffalo wings.

Salads ($3.95-$9.95): House mixed green, Caesar salad, fresh tomato and mozzarella.

Pasta ($12.95-$16.95): Spaghetti (marinara or bolognese), linguini (white or red clam sauce) or linguini Aglio e Olio, penne ala vodka, ravioli filetto e pomodoro, manicotti to stuffed Sshells.

Chicken (416.95-$18.95): Pollo parmigiana, pollo francese, pollo Sorentino, (sautéed breast of chicken with eggplant and prosciutto, topped with fresh mozzarella) to pollo Benedetto (chicken sautéed with roasted peppers, with artichoke hearts, mushrooms and black olives).

Veal ($18.95-$20.95): Vitello parmigiana (veal cutlet with Italian bread crumbs and fresh mozzarella cheese in a marinara sauce), vitello piccata (veal medallions with lemon and capers, finished with butter), veal saltimbocca and veal Benedetto (veal sautéed with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, olives and mushrooms).

Meat ($17.95-$26.95): Pork chops and vinegar peppers (hot or sweet) and filet mignon.

Jean Amodea is a freelance writer for The Banner. She can be reached at jeanamodea@earthlink.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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