Franki Wasik and her parents have always expressed their love for each other through food.
Now, the Wasiks are expanding their culinary care circle by opening two restaurants that share a kitchen in Shadyside.
The casual Frank’s Bar and Grill and the fancier French restaurant Frances occupy the Copeland Street building that once housed Stack’d.
The upstairs sports bar Frank’s opened in mid-May. In addition to 12 draft beers and a variety of local liquor, it serves upscale pub fare made by chef Patrick McFarlane and sous chef Josh Shamis, both veterans of Downtown’s The Warren Bar & Burrow and Penn Cove Eatery.
There are appetizers, including wings, queso and fried cauliflower, plus favorites like the Pittsburgh salad (steak or chicken). The burgers include the Italian Cowboy — a country fried, open-faced monster patty topped with Parma Italian sausage gravy and a fried egg.
The décor is just as eclectic. Tin beer signs adorn the walls at Frank’s and two vintage bicycles hang over the large, U-shaped bar.
Eventually, an old Chiodo’s Tavern sign will go between them. Franki’s parents, David and Sue Wasik, got engaged at the famous Homestead watering hole, which closed in 2005. The odds and ends that fill Frank’s are a nod to their old neighborhood haunt.
Meanwhile, Frances (that’s Franki’s real name) will be a place for upscale comfort food. The Wasiks remodeled both spaces in just two weeks, with Frank’s already open and Frances opening in mid-June.
The menu and the welcoming vibe at Frances will be similar to the elaborate dinners the family has always prepared on Sundays: “We’ve been blessed to travel a lot,” says Franki Wasik. “When we come home, we try to recreate the awesome things that we ate for 20 to 30 people.”
Seated under chandeliers at small bistro tables, booths or a long farm table, guests at the restaurant can start with appetizers including deviled eggs, tuna ceviche and shrimp toast. Salads include the Panzanella with toasted rye, heirloom tomato, caponata, Calabrian chili, Persian cucumber and white anchovy.
Diners can opt for seafood entrees including scallops served with grits and candied bacon. The beef filet comes with bacon fat confit and grilled lamb chops are served with wild oregano, preserved lemon, mint, dirty orzo and smoked eggplant.
Stephanie Dickson, former bar manager at Blue Dust in Homestead, is putting together a drink menu for Frances that’s filled with ’50s- and ‘60s-era cocktails, wine from small vineyards and a rotating mix of local brews.
Franki Wasik got her start in the food industry at the former Nine on Nine restaurant and then worked in catering at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Her mom grew up in the restaurant business and spent 15 years in food service at Oakland Catholic High School.
After cooking together at home for so many years, they’re excited to offer Pittsburghers both fine dining and pub food.