When the beloved Brooklyn restaurant Franny’s closed in 2016, the neighborhood vibrated with an undercurrent of concern: What would take the pizzeria’s place, and would its replacement chip away at the community’s personality?
Residents emitted an audible sigh of relief when restaurateur Joe Campanale (L’Artusi, dell’anima, Anfora) and chef Erin Shambura (L’Artusi executive chef, Del Posto, Lupa) announced plans for Fausto, their Italian-by-way-of-Brooklyn venture. These Kings County residents (both live within a few blocks of the restaurant) spent a year looking in the borough for a space until Francine Stephens, Franny’s owner, serendipitously reached out; she asked if they were still searching and informed them of her plans to shutter her restaurant. As regulars of the venerable joint, they knew they had found a place to establish their first restaurant outside of Manhattan.
Shambura is drawing culinary inspiration from her time in northern Italy. “I’m definitely trying to root what we’re doing here in some traditional dishes,” she says, “but with more of a seasonal direction based on what I can get at the [Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket].” She is spending time not only developing recipes, but cultivating relationships with local purveyors. Wild-caught fish, responsibly raised proteins and other ingredients sourced within 250 miles build out her menu.
The wine program displays a strong point of view, featuring organically grown wines with lower alcohol and clean, bright fruit, but doesn’t solely support the food; both culinary and wine components are meant to highlight each other, creating an approachable and holistic dining experience.
Given his background in establishing restaurants with loyal clientele, Campanale wants to build a spot that is “of and for the neighborhood.” He seeks to incorporate the history of Park Slope, its beautiful architecture, and the dynamic changes occurring throughout the blocks. The duo tapped HOME Studios (Metta, June Wine Bar, Rebelle) to bring these ideas into Fausto’s decor. “We want to be rooted in something historical, but also be forward-looking,” he says. “The feeling we’ve gotten from a lot of people is that they’re happy…it’s not turning into a chain store, that it’s going to be another local, independently owned business.”
Franny’s closure reconfirmed Campanale and Shambura’s hunch that the area needed another great dining option. The modest but ambitious restaurant sits at the intersection of tradition and innovation, and the two veterans of the Manhattan dining scene hope this personal project resonates with the neighborhood they call home.