Prior to my diagnosis with coeliac disease, one of my favourite restaurants was Frankie & Benny’s. I always looked forward to going there and I would always have the Goat’s Cheese & Onion Garlic Bread as a starter – oh how I miss having that! 😦
If you’re not familiar with this chain, here’s some information about them, taken from their website:
Rumour has it that Frankie Giuliani was 10 years old when, with his Mamma and Poppa, he left Sicily and landed at Ellis Island, New York in 1924.
They moved in with relatives in ‘Little Italy’, a predominantly Italian neighbourhood. Poppa soon found work, but from the home country he’d brought a little money and a lot of ambition. It was no surprise then, when the family opened a restaurant within a year, everybody helping with the building and the cooking in equal measure.
Each of them had a favourite dish to contribute, but it was Mamma’s home-style cooking that was the base from which the business prospered. Frankie went to the nearby High School and became lifetime friends with Benny, already a third generation American.
In 1953 Poppa retired and Frankie and Benny took over the business, combining the best of popular American food with traditional Italian dishes. The rest, as they say, is history…
I’d recently heard that Frankie & Benny’s now has a gluten free menu so when Rich and I decided to go out for a meal last week, I thought it would be worth giving the menu a try so we visited my local restaurant, which is conveniently only a 5 minute drive from us at Aspects Leisure Park, Longwell Green.
The ‘normal’ menu has changed a lot since I was last there, to the extent that is now huge! Unfortunately the gluten free menu is considerably smaller, although to have one at all is great so I can’t really complain!
I’d been reading up on the menu before we left so I had a rough idea of what I was going to have, but I was having difficulty choosing between a starter or a dessert to go with my main….
As is always the way, the main course I was going to have (the Goat’s Cheese & Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto) wasn’t available! Typical!
Instead I opted to have the Boston BBQ Chicken, which is described as ‘a chicken breast topped with crispy bacon and cheese smothered in our famous BBQ sauce. Served with coleslaw, a jacket and a side salad’. As a result of having this it meant that it didn’t seem such a good idea to have the starter of Loaded Potato Skins which I’d been considering, so now I just had to make sure I saved room for a dessert, but this looked like it could be a difficult challenge…..
My Boston BBQ Chicken was absolutely amazing. Granted it’s not exactly something that you could eat every day, but it was perfect for a treat night :).
Obviously the chicken, bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce was a highlight, but the tomato salsa on the salad was gorgeous and perfectly complimented that meal. Thumbs up Frankie & Benny’s!!
Although I’d eaten quite a big main meal, I was determined to try a dessert and out of the four options available, I decided to try the Frankie’s Banana Split Sundae, which is described as ‘our twist on a classic, slices of fresh banana, vanilla and toffee ice
cream, salt caramel and chocolate fudge sauces layered with our red berry sauce, chocolate covered honeycomb and topped with whipped cream’.
It sounded like it could be quite sickly to be honest, but I like having ice cream for dessert and the added bonus of honeycomb swung it for me! 🙂
Although it tasted lovely, it was very difficult to pick out the individual flavours that had been described on the menu.
I definitely didn’t get any honeycomb or salted caramel flavouring and could barely differentiate between the other flavours, apart from the chunks of banana!
Unfortunately I think this may have been a case of too many flavours in one dessert, which was a shame as it had the potential to be amazing.
Overall, I was very impressed with my introduction to Frankie & Benny’s gluten free menu, however it would have been good to see all of the menu options available.
I believe the limitation may have been due to the upcoming launch of their new menu. I did ask the waitress if the gluten free menu would also be altered, but she didn’t know if it would be or not. If it does change, hopefully we’ll see it increase rather than decrease!
If you’ve tried the gluten free menu at Frankie and Benny’s I’d love to hear from you! What did you order and what did you think? Would you recommend them? Please let me know by leaving a comment below! 🙂