The Story Behind Frankly Pizza in Kensington
New restaurant opens Wednesday in Kensington
Owner Frank Linn inside Frankly...Pizza!
Owner Frank Linn has created a uniquely American space for his new Kensington pizza restaurant.
The first thing you’ll probably spot when you walk into the cozy restaurant is the locally-milled hardwood bar. Then your attention might swing to the wood-burning pizza oven, the Amish-crafted tables and the found-on-Craigslist pew from a Dundalk church, or to the Edison bulbs and the wooden chandeliers built with salvaged wood from the Linn family barn in Pennsylvania.
The barn, which Linn said was built in 1765, is gone, but the American chestnut wood it was made of lives on in the restaurant.
“I like to build things that never break,” Linn said in explaining his design choices for the space.
Linn, his father and others spent the better part of the last year gutting and renovating the 2,000-square-foot space on Armory Avenue that was previously home to Two Pears Cafe. Linn estimated the renovation cost about $160,000.
On Monday afternoon, even the building’s landlord was bringing people by just to show them the space.
The restaurant officially opens Wednesday, but over the weekend, the 42-year-old Linn held a soft opening for his family, friends and the people who supported his mobile pizza kitchen of the same name. He operated the mobile kitchen at local farmers markets and private events before finding this space in Kensington.
The wood-burning oven can cook a pizza in about 90 seconds at 700 degrees. The temperature creates a bubbly, brown surface and a crispy, charred crust, according to Linn. He says it’s similar to Neapolitan-style pizza. Linn tops his pizzas with house-made ingredients such as prosciutto, roasted jalapeños and caramelized onions.
“The recipe is a culmination of doing research, tasting, testing, and tasting and testing some more,” Linn said.
On Monday, pork jowls and a leg of prosciutto were hanging in a wine cooler behind the bar. Linn said the leg had been curing for more than a year. In the back, Linn has 250 pounds of his own smoked and cured bacon ready for Wednesday’s opening.
The 10- to 12-inch pies served during the soft opening range in price from $9 to $13.
The menu includes a few seasonal salads, starters such as assorted olives, and wine and beer. The restaurant is home to one of the county’s few wine taps, and there are four rotating craft beer taps. Other drinks include house-made sodas ($3.50). The initial flavors are blueberry, ginger and vanilla cream. Linn said he plans to offer the vanilla cream continually, but may mix up the other two choices based on what’s seasonally available.
Linn estimates Frankly…Pizza! will employ 20 to 25 people. The restaurant will not deliver, and to-go orders can only be placed in person. The restaurant’s interior seats about 40 people, with room for about 20 more on the patio outside.
- 10417 Armory Ave., Kensington
- Hours (subject to change): Wednesday – Friday: 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday – Sunday: 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Prosciutto and pork jowls curing in a converted wine cooler
Photos by Andrew Metcalf