30 May 2006

Knockin' on Frankie & Johnny's Door

Puleo's and Puleo's II gave up the ghost over the week, following their W. 45th street Theatre District neighbors Barrymore's and Sam's to the showfolk hangout graveyard.

This is not very important in and of itself; Puleo's I and II were always mediocre Italian joints with scant theatrical following. But their exit leaves only one other resident on that end of the block: Frankie & Johnny's steakhouse. This second-floor chop house is an actual landmark, a leftover from the speakeasy days. It still has a speakeasy feel to it. You enter through a rickety, narrow flight of stairs. The small dining area is to the left. A small bar is past the kitchen to the right. You wouldn't notice it if you didn't know it's there already. Which is probably how they liked it in Prohibition days.

I called the place today and a nervous waiter denied the eatery's imminent demise. I could hear him sweat over the phone. But that what he and all the W. 45th Street owners did months ago when I called them. And look what happened to them. Take my word for it: Frankie and Johnny's isn't long for this world. If you want to eat a steak there, you'd better hurry.

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