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88 2nd Ave, New York, NY (@ 5th St.)

When a restaurant is named after the owner and its slogan is “a place to eat,” you know you’re in for an honest-to-goodness experience, no pretension whatsoever. Opening in 1998 with just 29 seats and Frank’s own family recipes, rave reviews quickly gave it a reputation and up to two hour waits for tables. Since then, Frank (modestly) expanded but has stayed true to grandmother’s style Italian cooking. Today, East Village locals flock to this charming eatery for hearty servings of favorites including Uncle Tony’s Handmade Gnocchi, a meaty Rigatoni al Ragu, and a mouth-watering tomato bruschetta. Grab a seat at the Vera Bar before or after your meal and enjoy an antipasto. Above all, take advantage of the extensive wine list – boasting over 750 Italian labels –and indulge in the aromas while enjoying the neighborhood vibe of this beloved and always packed locale.