The tiny Frank & Louie's Italian specialties is packed to the ceiling with dry pastas including raviolini (teeny ravioli) and pasta nests ready to be tossed into boiling water. Canned and bagged specialty foods, sauces, oils, vinegars and spices line the walls. But the focal point is the monolithic wall of jam-packed deli cases that define the center of the room. Italian meats and cheeses hang from the ceiling, and are available, hand-cut, from the refrigerated displays.
The holy grail at Frank & Louie's is the Ciabatta Hero; the menu is scrawled on the blackboard. A hero is another word for “sub” or “hoagie” or “grinder.” (NOTE: These are not synonyms! The names are steeped in regional differences and mean different things in different parts of the country. To illustrate: If you ask for a “hoagie” anywhere other than in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you will be met with a blank stare and may be asked to vacate the premises. It's like ordering a pastrami on white bread with lettuce, tomato and mayo at Katz's Delicatessen in New York. It's just not done.)
Eggplant parm1/19 So many biscotti, so little time.2/19 The menu board3/19 Lots of tasty cheese4/19 Feelin' like a cream puff?5/19 Prepared Italian delights to take home and warm up6/19 Get your EVOO in bulk7/19 Out front8/19 Gift baskets for the holidays9/19 cookies10/19 Diane's famous mozz & pepperoni bread11/19 pignoli almond cookies12/19 dried pastas13/19 even more cookies14/19 tagliatelle15/19 vinegars and oils16/19 cheese, cheese and more cheese17/19 A place to hang your prosciutto.18/19 Louie and Frankie Bascio19/19
My favorite is a tossup between the #1 “Tiny Dancer” (caprese salad on a roll) and the #3 Sal Special (a medley of thin-sliced Italian meats paired with sharp provolone). Each and every sandwich is drizzled with dark and fruity olive oil. I ask for an additional drizzle of acidic, yet sweet balsamic. (Don't knock it 'til you've tried it – but do avail yourself to a bib.)
Of course the cookies and pastries are still there, along with prepared foods like chicken cutlets, meatballs, risotto balls (think traditional arancini, but a bit creamier), lasagne and a thinly layered eggplant parm. It's all there and it's all Italian. Summer patrons stream into Frank & Louie's for the prepared entrees that they can simply heat up in their condos or rental cottages. And don't forget the wedding cookies and ricotta cookies!
Frank & Louie's Italian Specialties is located on Baltimore Avenue in a tiny, teal building with black awnings just a few doors east of Second St. and directly across from Aqua Grill. There is no seating other than a couple of little bistro tables out front. They are a hot ticket during weekend lunchtime. Off-season hours vary, but in-season they are open every day, 10-6. Call to make sure: 302-227-5777.
Take a look at their Facebook page here. (L, D. No alcohol) Price range: Moderate.