UNION PIER — Frankie’s Place Executive Chef Frank Biondo’s goal is to make the Union Pier restaurant “a destination that you want to come to, where you know you’re going to have a good meal and a good time.”
Biondo took over the kitchen at Frankie’s Place, 16036 Red Arrow Highway, last fall, so this will be his first summer season at an eatery that he noted has had a lot of management over the years.
Biondo said he is seeking to reinvent what Frankie’s Place is supposed to be and what it can be, adding that getting feedback from his customers is very important.
“I want to talk to you personally, I want to know what you think, and I go from there,” he said. “Ultimately I am here for the guest … at the end of the day I’m a humble cook.”
Part of the transformation is offering classic dishes at good prices made with really fresh ingredients and “a little bit of a spin” to offer a unique dining experience.
Frank said he ages rib-eye steaks in house, and makes much of what he serves.
“If it can be made I’ll make it.”
Offerings are altered as produce such as tomatoes, herbs and fruits come into season.
“I’ll reprint my entire menu probably four times this season,” Biondo said.
There are, of course, some mainstays.
“My ravioli will always be on and I make that from scratch completely … the Chicken Waffles will stay. And the walleye is the best-seller I have. It’s simply done and vegetable driven,” he said.
Biondo said Frankie’s Place will offer a Sunday brunch beginning in June — and it won’t be your standard Sunday brunch thanks to unique tastes such as chicken-fried bacon with country gravy for dipping, chocolate pancakes, and a reuben benedict
“It’s really aimed at people heading toward the beach or visitors who are leaving or coming — something they can pop in and eat,” Biondo said.
The bar offers wines (from a short-batch list) that most restaurants don’t have. Biondo said the special list provides great vintages that revolve so he can continue to offer something new and different.
One Biondo’s main goals is to have Frankie’s Place accessible to everyone so they can enjoy “the best food I can possibly put out there.”
Originally from Coloma, Biondo was the opening chef for Fitzgerald’s in Sawyer and has also cooked at Soe Cafe, Iron in Grand Rapids, Port 412 in St. Joseph, and many other restaurants. He also consulted and helped open Baroda Tap.
The schedule for summer, which begins in June, is Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Live music is Frankie’s Place is sometimes on the “menu” as well (see the Frankie’s Place Facebook page).
The Sunday brunch will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.