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Pizzeria still strong after 60 years

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For more than 60 years, Frank’s has been a favorite among residents and workers in Jamaica.

Everyone from judges and lawyers on their lunch breaks to families celebrating birthdays have long been drawn in by Frank’s laid-back atmosphere and the menu that boasts homemade soups, stuffed flounder with crab meat and, of course, pizza.

Those who come to Frank’s, located near the Jamaica courthouse at 146-12 Jamaica Ave., are frequently personally greeted by the restaurant’s owners, Susan and Giuseppe DiLuca, who pride themselves on knowing their patrons’ names, eating habits and even much of what is going on in their lives.

“Our clientele have been coming here forever,” Susan DiLuca said. “We know when our customers are getting married, who’s having a baby, when they’re retiring. I know some of them are on diets and who’s vegetarian.”

Susan and Giuseppe DiLuca, both originally from Italy, bought the restaurant 25 years ago from the original owner, a distant cousin of the DiLuca’s. The two had long been involved in the food business, and Susan DiLuca said she and her husband had always dreamed of having their own restaurant.

“My husband had been a chef, and I had been a waitress and worked as a deli, so when we found out this place was for sale, we knew it was perfect for us,” Susan DiLuca said.

When the husband and wife duo took over, Susan DiLuca said they “turned the place upside-down.” They expanded the menu and most recently their hours. They are now open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Frank’s is closed Sundays.

“We want to redo the whole front and have a new counter and new equipment,” Susan DiLuca said. “I want to try and do table service at night.”

Even during the recession, Frank’s has fared well — which Susan DiLuca attributes to the loyal customers and reasonable prices.

“You get two slices and a soda for $5,” Susan DiLuca said. “Homemade soups are $3.”

Over the years, the owner said she has seen the neighborhood change for the better and is looking forward to Frank’s being a staple in the neighborhood for decades to come.

“I’ve seen a lot of improvemen­ts,” Susan DiLuca said. “I’ve seen cleaner streets, and it’s safe to walk around here now. It’s changed a lot. We have big, beautiful banks. Jamaica’s getting very popular.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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