Grab a slice of Americana at Frankie and Benny’s, a family-friendly restaurant that is never shy, never retiring and offers service with a smile. The music is loud, the service is fast and the menu is loaded with casual dining favorites. This is a big taste of the Big Apple, with a dollop of Little Italy thrown in for good measure.
Founding Location: Leicester
Frankie and Benny’s has the feel of an iconic American brand. They sell fast, delicious American cuisine in a classic 50s setting, and they are big with families. But there are a few things about this brand that might surprise you, as we shall discover.
Frankie and Benny’s: The Fake Story
You could be forgiven for thinking that Frankie and Benny’s was a traditional American brand. With all of the thousands of US fast food and restaurant chains out there, surely this is just a popular export? Well, not really.
In fact, nothing is as it seems in Frankie and Benny’s. This is certainly an American-style diner, but it’s one that is restricted soley to the United Kingdom, with more than 200 locations nationwide. Even the story that they use—the one you will see displayed on photographs and newspaper clippings throughout the restaurant—isn’t real. It seems that Frankie and Benny’s wanted to project a certain aesthetic, and they weren’t going to let truth get in the way of that.
But can we blame them? This is a great little chain and one that provides a great taste of modern Italian-American food. And while the story might not be real, it’s certainly interesting and it makes for great reading as you tuck into your meal.
Frankie and Benny’s: The Real Story
The “fake story” mentioned above revolves around a boy named Frankie who moved to the States from Sicily as a boy. His family opened a restaurant in the New York and his friend, Benny, later got in on the act. The brand was then exported to the UK where it has flourished ever since.
In reality, this brand as born in the UK in 1995. The first location opened in the city of Leicester, and the backstory is decidedly less interesting and has less of a family feel to it. They are run by the Restaurant Group, a FTSE 250 company with a revenue of around £700 million and a stake in several other chains, including Chiquita, Coast to Coast and Garfunkel’s.
This company was founded in order to run Garfunkel’s, a small chain mainly found in London. But in founding Frankie and Benny’s it created a brand that outperformed everything else on its roster.
Frankie and Benny’s Menu
The Frankie and Benny’s menu has a little something for everyone. There are a few menus to choose from on Frankie and Benny’s, including:
- Drinks: The Frankie and Benny’s drinks menu is loaded with all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, including NYC favorites such as the Cosmopolitan and Long Island Iced Tea. you can order by the glass or by the jug.
- Specials Menu: If you drop by during lunch then you can get a three-course meal for a set price. This menu is a slimmed down version of the main menu, but the portions are a little smaller. For instance, if you order a pizza off the main menu, you will get a full pizza. If you order a pizza off this menu, you will get half a pizza with side of French fries.
- Desserts: The dessert menu is a great way to finish off your meal at this American-style restaurant. Casual dining chains don’t always have the best desserts, but there are some delicious treats to sample at Frankie and Benny’s. Their Salted Caramel Cheesecake is a personal favorite of ours, and provides a great taste of New York.
There is also a main menu, which is where you will find the majority of the dishes. You can choose from pizzas, calzones, pasta dishes, salads, wraps and burgers. There are also plenty of sides and starters, including dough balls and French fries.
Frankie and Benny’s Secret Menu
There are a few secrets hiding away on the Frankie and Benny’s Secret Menu. These include specials, which you only need to ask for to get, and a few secret menu items. As we have already discussed, the American origin story of Frankie and Benny’s plays with the truth a little bit (which is a polite way of saying it’s a downright lie) and non-US chains don’t have the best reputation for secret menus. But they are trying to honor their fake American heritage by changing this. Not only are are a few options on the Frankie and Benny’s secret menu, somewhat in line with the Nando’s secret menu, but there are more being added all of the time.
To see this for yourself, just visit our Frankie and Benny’s Secret Menu page.
Frankie and Benny’s Menu Prices
Frankie and Benny’s menu prices should appeal to all. This is low-cost, high-quality, food that is made to be served hot, fresh and cheap. You can generally enjoy a full three course meal for less than £20 per person. And you can reduce that even further if you eat off their specials menus.
Away from those reduced-price menus you can expect to pay £5 to £7 for a starter; £9 to £12 for a main, and around £5 for one of their bigger sides, with both their Double Dip Dough Balls and their Garlic Breads coming in at less than this amount.
Frankie and Benny’s love a good bargain and they love passing these onto their customers. So, as well as their specials menus, there are other ways you can shave some pounds off your bill. These include their discounts for students, which can reduce your bill by a sizable amount if you have the card to prove it and if you don’t drop by during peak times.
To learn more about these discounts and to see a full range of Frankie and Benny’s menu prices, click onto our guide.
Frankie and Benny’s Nutrition and Calories
There are options for most special diets on the Frankie and Benny’s menu. There are also plenty of low calorie options if you’re watching your weight. The green “V” symbol marks all of the vegetarian dishes, and you’ll see an orange “L” for the dishes that are under 600 calories.
There are quite a large number of veggie dishes to choose from. However, the lower calorie dishes are limited to a handful per menu. Unless you skimp on the portions or opt for one of their smaller dishes, of course.
There is also a gluten-free menu on Frankie and Benny’s. But they ask that all customers inform their server of food intolerances and allergies in advance. That way they can ensure that no gluten gets into your food, whether directly or via contamination. The same goes for nut allergies and any other allergies. Frankie and Benny’s tend to be very thoughtful in this regard, as you would expect from such a big chain.
Frankie and Benny’s Christmas Menu
Frankie and Benny’s are big on Christmas and they have a special menu to celebrate the season. The offers change year by year, but they typically have a special meal deal where you can get two courses for £15. These courses include some holiday favorites, and there is a whole new menu to enjoy for the season. They do away with many of their traditional menu items and welcome everything from Roast Turkey to Nut Roast and even Popcorn Shrimp. There are even festive meals for the kids, and these are available at close to half the cost of the adult meals.
Christmas in Frankie and Benny’s is an experience not to be missed, perfect whether you’re a big fan of this chain or or the holiday season. It’s indulgent, and it’s fun—everything Christmas should be.
Frankie and Benny’s Locations
All of the 200+ restaurants that carry the Frankie and Benny’s name can be found in the United Kingdom. These are spread out across the country, with most of them in England. There are no locations across the Welsh border, nor are there any in Northern Ireland. However, there are several in Scotland, including a handful in the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
As of late 2016 these locations stretch as far north as Inverness and as far south as Plymouth. The majority of Frankie and Benny’s locations, unsurprising, are in and around the city of London, as far west as Oxford and as far east as Ipswich. The chain has also spread to many major towns and cities in the north of England, including Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle.