Frankie’s Chicago Style Bar & Restaurant beat out 31 other fine pizza establishments to be named winner of Minnesota Monthly’s second annual Pizza Bracket Challenge. Located in New Hope, the community-staple eatery has been owned and operated by Kent Garbers since 1997. “One of my favorite things is seeing adults who used to come in here with their parents when they were kids,” Garbers says. “They say, ‘I grew up on this pizza, it reminds me of home.’”
The restaurant’s extensive pizza menu offers Chicago-style stuffed, deep-dish pan, and traditional thin-crust pies. Garbers lived in Chicago for part of his life, as well, and has loved bringing the style to Minnesota diners. Hot dogs and a range of appetizers—including the can’t-miss tater tots drenched in wing sauce—fill out other desirable offerings. “It’s the best compliment to have people come in who are from Chicago and say, ‘This is exactly like the Chicago Dog I get back home,’” he says.
His favorite off the menu after decades in the business: a pan-style pepperoni pizza. When asked why he loves pizza enough to build his life around it, he answers right away: “It’s got that family feel. It’s a nice thing to gather around, and it’s destined for sharing.”
“Everyone can rally around pizza,” says New Hope mayor Kathi Hemken. “Kent is probably the most benevolent citizen we have. When my husband died, he brought cookies and lots and lots of pizza.” A regular customer, Hemken opts for single slices out of the to-go case in the front of the restaurant. But with a bar and comfortable, family-friendly dining space, there’s incentive to eat in. Frankie’s environment has proven so welcoming that school groups, the local Lions Club, and local Senator Ann Rest all utilize the space for meetings.
Frankie’s staff even came together recently to produce a video based upon the opening theme to Cheers. “We had a blast,” Garbers says.
Frankie’s Chicago Style Bar & Restaurant
3556 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope