Jump to content

Frankly ... Pizza! - Frank Linn's Mobile, Wood-Fired Pizza Stand Now A Restaurant on Armory Avenue in Kensington


Recommended Posts

Frankly . . . Pizza! is a mobile, wood-fired brick pizza oven run by Frank Linn, who makes pizzas at the Kensington Farmers Market (Saturdays 8-12) and other spots around the Kensington area (listed on his Twitter feed). It's not a truck, but a stand with a pizza oven on wheels. He uses high-quality, fresh ingredients to produce tasty, artisan-style pizzas.

A worthy addition to the ranks of pizzaioli making pizzas in the Neapolitan style in the area, I've had the classic Margherita and the Mushroom (crimini mushrooms, mozzarella, Gruyere, porcini oil), which are both delicious and amongst the best Neapolitan style pizzas in the area. They're also a couple bucks cheaper than similar pizzas in the area, given the mobile set-up, so that's a bit of an added bonus. He usually offers around six or seven selections any given day. The pizzas re-heat nicely in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.

For those into the details, the crust has a nice char, the cornichione has a nice crusty bread quality with a pleasing crumb (though sometimes has a bit too much width), the toppings are nicely balanced and good quality. The Margheritas tend not to have much of the drooping/soggy center problem folks often object to with Neapolitan pizza, the Mushroom has a bit if it sits long enough, but I don't have a problem with that.

web site: http://www.frankly-pizza.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that Frankly "¦ Pizza has been open a couple weeks, it's time for a full review.  I must say up front that Frankly "¦ Pizza belongs in the top echelon of pizza places in the DC region "¦ and beyond.  The basic Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basel) is a good baseline for judging a pizza place.  What stands out for me about Frank's is the balance of flavors, especially that I can taste the crust AND the toppings in a bite.  He also uses top quality ingredients, some imported from Italy like Caputo OO flour, which is part of what packs his pizzas with flavor.  I'd say the pizzas are artisanal, not exactly Neapolitan, as they are not as wet or droopy in the center, although, like the Neapolitan style, the pizzas are made in a wood fired oven (assembled by Frank) and made from many of the same ingredients. 

The menu offers only a few starters "¦ a couple salads, a bowl of olives, as pizza is the main event here for now.  In the Red category, there's a Cheese, a Margherita that adds cherry tomatoes and basil, a Pepperoni, and a Porky Marge that adds bacon to the Margherita.

In the white category there's Garlic (garlic, olive oil, cheese), Arugula (garlic, cheese, olive oil, ricotta, lemon, and finished with arugula), Mushroom (criminis, mozzarella and romano cheese, olive oil, shallots, parsley, gruyere, porcini salt), Spinach (garlic, mozzarella, caramelized onion, spinach, gruyere, lemon), Hot Mess (mozzarella, pickled jalapenos, caramelized onion, bacon, gruyere, romano), Bacon & Egg (mozzarella, arugula, 3 quail eggs, bacon, gruyere, romano "“ only available on Sat. and Sun.). 

Most of the ingredients mentioned above also are available as additional toppings.  BTW, Frank cures his meats himself, as evidenced by the guanciale (pork jowl) and a leg of prosciutto hanging in a cooler behind the bar.

The drink menu features some interesting offerings.  Frankly "¦ Pizza is one of the few places to pour from a wine on tap system.  Right now he has a Pratsch Gruner Veltliner, Milbrandt Chardonnay, Stolpman La Cuadrilla, and Milbrandt Cabernet.  Bottled wines include Runaway White and Runaway Pinot Blanc, Lambrusco Grasparossa, and Montelliana Proseco.  Beers on tap include Sam Adams Lager, Goose Island 312 Wheat, Dogfish 60 Min. IPA, and Starr Hill Pils.  Frank also offers homemade sodas:  Vanilla Cream, Fizzy Ginger, and Watermelon Fresca.  I tried the Vanilla Cream and you can taste the real vanilla bean flavor. 

The décor is down-home American with features like a locally milled hardwood bar, Amish crafted tables, a couple pews from a Dundalk church, and wooden light fixtures (built by Frank's dad from chestnut wood salvaged from an old family Pennsylvania barn) with Edison bulbs lighting the way.  As you enter the place you'll notice the outdoor patio, a nice place to hang out on a beautiful evening.  The staff is very friendly and enthusiastic. 

If you live or for some reason find yourself anywhere near Kensington and you love pizza, you've got to try Frankly "¦ Pizza.

10417 Armory Ave., Kensington (behind the Safeway on Connecticut)

http://www.frankly-pizza.com

Hours (subject to change): Wednesday "“ Friday: 4:30 p.m. "“ 9:00 p.m., Saturday "“ Sunday: 4:30 p.m. "“ 9:00 p.m.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you live or for some reason find yourself anywhere near Kensington and you love pizza, you've got to try Frankly "¦ Pizza.

This reads like a press release -- but the info is appreciated. Especially re: the menu and drinks, which are not posted online.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This reads like a press release -- but the info is appreciated. Especially re: the menu and drinks, which are not posted online.

Whoa!  Never written a press release in my life .... just a happy pizza eater.

Ha! I'm the most jaded person there is, and even I didn't think this was an inside job (though I could see where Kev might).

I knew wisehands was just psyched to get his hands on some high-quality, local 'za. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ha! I'm the most jaded person there is, and even I didn't think this was an inside job (though I could see where Kev might).

I knew wisehands was just psyched to get his hands on some high-quality, local 'za. :)

Fair enough. I'm excited about Frankly as well - just down the road from my place. Going to try it asap.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Ozgirl and I went to Frankly... Friday night after reading the comments here.  (gotta love this site!)  We were not disappointed.  What a little gem - tucked away from Connecticut Ave, behind a Safeway.  It was a lovely night and we were able to score a table in their patio area.  Since it was our first time, we wanted to try as much as possible off the menu.  We started with a bowl of assorted olives and the arugula salad.  The salad was great!  There is a strong hit of lemon zest in the dressing and it's a wonder and completely unexpected pleasant surprise.  I found the lemon to be addictive and I wanted more salad - just so i could get more hits of the lemon zest.

We also ordered the mushroom and spinach pizzas.  Both really lovely.  The crust had nice charred blistered bits on top and seemed lighter in texture (not soggy) than the other neopolitan styles we've been enjoying of late.  Perhaps it's due to the oven.  Either way, this was a pleasant change.  In both the mushroom and spinach, the toppings were also tasty and varied.  

We didn't order dessert, but the brownie seemed to be a big hit with the families seated around us.

So happy to add this to the list of locations suitable for casual - don't feel like cooking - weeknight (or week-end) meals out.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ha! I'm the most jaded person there is, and even I didn't think this was an inside job (though I could see where Kev might).

I knew wisehands was just psyched to get his hands on some high-quality, local 'za. :)

[Note:  the post below was from a PM I wrote to DonRocks and he thought it was too good to waste on one person via PM ..... so here it is:]

You got it right DonRocks .... I'm just excited to have great local pizza.  I guess Kev29 mistook enthusiasm for flacking.  I don't know if you recall, but the irony of it all is that you and I had some discussion a while back about the phony style of promotion of the openings of many corporate run restaurants .... then I end up being semi-accused of the very thing I loathe.  On top of that, if you knew Frank, you'd know he's the antithesis of hype. 

You know, if every neighborhood had a place like Frank's, as opposed to a Papa John's or Domino's, then we might be able to say our food culture is getting somewhere.  When I was in Naples, I went to the various "famous" pizzerias .... Da Michele, Trianon, Brandi's, Le Notizie, Starita, etc. .... the usual suspects.  Then I mentioned my pizza crawling to a friend who lived in Naples and she said those places are just OK but she knew places that were better, and she proceeded to take me to her cousin (about half the people in Naples seemed to be her cousin) Ugo's pizzeria.  The pizza at Ugo's was fantastic .... she was right, it was better than the famous places.  And totally unsung.  No tourists in sight.  The place was packed with locals having a great time.  The moment I walked in I was spotted as a straniero, but since I was with Rita they figured I was OK and got a great welcome.  Funny thing is I don't know if I could find it again myself because we went there at night and we were driving on winding roads in the coutryside.  I have no idea where we were, other than "somewhere in Campania."  It was my Shangri-La pizza experience. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice atmosphere, both inside and out.  Excellent white pizzas (Veggie daughter thinks their arugula beats out CS's version.  I believe I'll need to eat both versions a few more times before I pass judgment, LOL!).  But the tomato sauce is way too sweet IMO.

Both desserts we had -- lemon ricotta cake (which I expected to be a cheesecake but was more of a pound cake) and the brownie (served warm IIRC and toward the flourless chocolate cake end of the spectrum) -- were quite good.

I wish they'd broaden their beverage menu a bit -- I'm not asking for Coke (I respect where they're coming from wrt sodas), but iced tea would be nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frankly ... Pizza! was reviewed in the November-December issue of Bethesda Magazine:  http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Magazine/November-December-2014/Dine-Review-Threes-Company-FranklyPizza-SubUrban-Trading-Co-and-K-Town-Bistro/

PS: a correction to the article, they're open on Sat. & Sun. at 11:30 am now.

PPS:  I'm not a fan of clams, but according to a clam loving friend the relatively new Clam Pizza is now her fave.  My current favorite is cheese with mushroom, caramelized onion, and garlic (and roasted red pepper when it's available).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A-ha! I knew I'd find it here. Thank you to the folks who posted the address above.

This is probably the 3rd or 4th restaurant website I've seen lately that doesn't list their fuckin' address!

[My rationale is that it's more useful to list their website than their exact address (yes, it's an extra click).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took my daughter here a couple of nights ago and had a wonderful time. The place was packed, so we took a couple of seats at the tiny 4-seat bar where my daughter had plenty of opportunity to charm the waitstaff as they picked up their food and drink orders. 

The sauce is sweeter than I'd typically like but it somehow works really well with the excellent charred crust and cheese. They make a mean meatball pizza!

We'll be back!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

Just wanted to say that I've been back to Frankly's a handful of times now and I love the joint. The staff is always friendly and I've yet to have a pizza I didn't thoroughly enjoy. 

Ditto to this. The salads have also been quite good each time I've been.  The Hot Mess is my favorite.  Have also had a couple make your owns, the Margherita, and the Mushroom.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We’re semi-regulars there (about 2-3x a month, which may be as often as we go to any particular restaurant).  I still wish the tomato sauce was a less sweet, and still enjoy the ever-changing but consistently good salads, as well as the never-changing but consistently great brownie with caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream.  Their arugula pizza (and the great atmosphere) knocked CS out of the rotation for us.  

There’s a fun documentary on Frankly and Rose’s Luxury called New Chefs on the Block.  If it ever streams, check it out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Normally have great experiences at Frankly, but last time (about a month ago) we ordered carryout since there were no large tables available. Walked back from the park to pick it up and our order somehow vanished. I was going to just leave it and go down to Dish & Dram but my wife paid for the order when she placed it. So they had to make it from that point, cost us 20 minutes with the kids hungry and frustrated. Took the pies home and they were a bit sloppy, doughy and over-sauced. All our trips had been great before then. We still drive farther to Pizza CS over Frankly most of the time because it's easier to get tables, order, have kids and other families there. Even though Frankly has better beer, wine, salads, we'll probably only head there for adults only nights and their great patio. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Kev29 said:

We still drive farther to Pizza CS over Frankly most of the time because it's easier to get tables, order, have kids and other families there. Even though Frankly has better beer, wine, salads, we'll probably only head there for adults only nights and their great patio. 

Hesitation about crowds and bringing my young child is part of what’s kept me from Frankly thus far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/20/2018 at 9:41 AM, dracisk said:

Hesitation about crowds and bringing my young child is part of what’s kept me from Frankly thus far.

I take my 8 year-old here and she enjoys the house-made Cherry Fizz soda. If you can get there by 5:30, or even 6 on a weekday, you won't have to wait long-- especially now that the outside tables are available. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We watched the documentary "New Chefs on the Block" last night. Frank Linn and Aaron Silverman  are the "new chefs" of the title. The film chronicles the build out of Frankly Pizza and Rose's Luxury (and to a lesser extent, P&P). It's a pretty fascinating film. The coverage starts in 2013 and goes through 2016. The film came out this year. I was unaware of it until I saw it pop up on Amazon Prime when we were looking for something to watch last night.

It was interesting to see the roles both sets of parents played in getting the restaurants off the ground. Also fascinating: the projected expenses for opening vs. actual. Rose's budget was much bigger, but as a percentage they went over much less than Frankly (which was working with an existing restaurant space). The way each handled staffing was also interesting to see.

Since there was quite a gap between when work on the film began and when it was wrapped up, there were some interview bits that otherwise wouldn't have been jarring but were. The most bittersweet part of the film was the segments featuring Michel Richard (who gets an "in memoriam" at the end) talking about food and restaurants. Then there were the segments with Mike Isabella talking about running restaurants. Oh my.

In any case, I haven't been to Kensington in years, but it was cool to see the evolution of Rose's, a restaurant I've been to quite a number of times.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, curiouskitkatt said:

All of this talk of good pizza, how would one compare Frankly's to Puppatella? 

They're so different it's hard to compare, although I have a strong preference for Frankly's crust; Pupatella's often has a floppy component to it (not because of the typical "wet interior" that Neapolitan pizzas have, but because the whole crust is just kind-of soft).

My biggest problem with Frankly is their Caesar Salad - they put honey (yes, honey) in it, and I find it off-putting.

Caesar.jpgPizza1.jpgPizza2.jpg <--- Very different styles.

  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Simon said:

Frank has a sweet tooth.  I've never had Pupatella, but the most distinctive element of Frank's pizza is the sweetness of the tomato sauce.  I've learned to stick to his white pies.

Right. The Sausage & Peppers ($16, on the right) was very sweet; the sausage itself was wonderful. I probably preferred the Bacon & Egg ($17.50); unfortunately, the quail eggs were pretty hard, and couldn't be spread on the pie (again, the bacon itself was wonderful).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

They're so different it's hard to compare, although I have a strong preference for Frankly's crust; Pupatella's often has a floppy component to it (not because of the typical "wet interior" that Neapolitan pizzas have, but because the whole crust is just kind-of soft).

My biggest problem with Frankly is their Caesar Salad - they put honey (yes, honey) in it, and I find it off-putting.

Caesar.jpgPizza1.jpgPizza2.jpg <--- Very different styles.

arugula & honey? eek. 

as far as pizza goes, I personally prefer a strong crust as well. It has been years since I have had Pupatella's , and don't remember how it stacks up against other places in the area. There are some great ones in my area, but the one that reigns supreme is only available on Tuesdays at a farmers market in Manheim, Pa. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, curiouskitkatt said:

arugula & honey? eek. 

as far as pizza goes, I personally prefer a strong crust as well. It has been years since I have had Pupatella's , and don't remember how it stacks up against other places in the area. There are some great ones in my area, but the one that reigns supreme is only available on Tuesdays at a farmers market in Manheim, Pa. 

Sorry, but Norma's has closed.

It was a simple stand in a large market, with a relatively pedestrian oven, but she won the 2016 Caputo Cup in New York. Serious pizza.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its actually still open. Norma doesn’t produce weekly, on account of her health. But she  is still running the stand. i just had a few slices a few weeks ago. For the little oven she has, she produces one hell of pie. She experiments with different fermentation's, and produces different styles of pies. From Neapolitan to Detroit square, she is another gem tucked away in Lancaster County. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...