Old world recipes right next door

There is absolutely nothing better than genuine, home cooked food. Virtually all of us (hopefully) have memories about the delicious dishes that Mom or Grandma used to make that tasted so good that we thought they were second to none. Do you know what? They were. And all you really have to do is just think about your favorite foods that your Mom made when you were young, those delicious meals she prepared and literally, just by remembering it you can almost smell it and taste it.

And that’s the one thing the trendy, chain restaurants that advertise everywhere can never really compete with; the genuine taste of home-made food that you can only get at home, or at small, family owned restaurants. But the trick is to know where these places are. How many times have you wondered where you could take a date or your wife to a place with a cozy and intimate atmosphere? A place where you can not only have a quiet and romantic evening but where you can also enjoy the best home-made food imaginable?

You either have to be a seasoned veteran of the local restaurant scene yourself or be lucky enough to know someone who is; a friend who can give you a tip about where you can go to find the perfect place. You need to know someone who knows where the best spots are for any particular type of food you want. Well, I have a tip for you. Take it from me, if you’re Italian, or if you just really love authentic Italian food in a warm, cozy and romantic atmosphere, the place to go in Northwest Indiana is “Frankie V’s Bar & Grill”.

Located at the site of the former “Up for Grabs” restaurant at 1923 Calumet Avenue in Whiting, Frankie V’s is the perfect place for genuine and delicious Italian food in an intimate and romantic atmosphere. Owner Frank Verta, aka “Frankie”, opened the spot in August of 2015 after a complete rehab of the building, including a new floor. So today Frankie V’s is not only nice and clean, but the intimate restaurant also retains the warm and cozy ambience that is perfect for romance too.

But the best part about Frankie V’s? the food.

For sure Frankie’s has the usual fare you might find at any bar and grill, like hot and cold sandwiches, hamburgers, fish and steaks, all tasty, to be sure. What makes Frankie V’s a must visit destination for diners are their genuine Italian specialties, like their delicious home-made Italian sausage, lasagna, spaghetti and mostaccioli. The reason these dishes are so good is because Frankie V’s uses genuine, old world recipes. Frankie himself is a first generation American, having come to the United States of America in 1970, when he was just 17 years old. Verta was born and raised in a town called Calabrese, a small town near Naples in central Italy. And Verta couldn’t speak English and never actually attended school once he arrived here in the USA, his adopted country. “In Italy we lived on a farm with no electricity and no running water,” said Verta. “And then one day my Dad tells me we are leaving. I asked him where are we going and he told me the United States of America.” So Verta’s father packed up the whole family, his wife and five kids and moved to the United States, the land of opportunity.

“We had no money when we got here. In fact I had never even seen a television until we got here but within a week after our arrival my Dad had gotten a job in the mill, and I started working as a busboy at The Italian Village, a restaurant in downtown Chicago.” “Then one day my Dad said he had a surprise for me,” continued Verta. “I thought that maybe he had bought me a car or something, but the surprise was that he had gotten me a job in the mill too.” So Verta went to work at LTV Steel, where he worked for 31 years until the mill closed, and when that happened he lost virtually everything. But after a short period of shock and uncertainty, Verta managed to secure a job at Arcelor Mittal, where he still works today twenty years later as a crane operator.

Verta admits that he is an “old school” kind of guy but nonetheless is proud of where he came from and the values that he learned from his parents. “I think I have done pretty well,” said Verta. “I had no education but I worked two jobs my whole life and somehow managed to put two kids through college.” Verta’s first experience in the food industry came as the owner of Palermo Pizza in Whiting, a business he sold in 1995, but his first experience as a bar owner didn’t come until he opened Frankie V’s.

The old school individual describes the patrons of Frankie V’s as a more mature and sophisticated, over 30, crowd, and he prides himself on the fact that since he opened his doors in August of 2015, he has never had a problem. But although Verta has a full bar at Frankie V’s and would describe his place in general as a sports bar, he acknowledges that it’s the restaurant that drives his business, and with good reason. All of Verta’s recipes are old world recipes that he got from his mother. And although she doesn’t work at the business, Verta’s mother still bakes her own home-made bread at age 88.

So consider that thought if you love Italian food, because Italian food doesn’t get any better than at Frankie V’s in Whiting. And the reason that Frankie V’s is the home of delicious old world Italian food is because it’s prepared by an old school Italian guy that is truly a living example of the American dream.

Frankie V’s is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00 am until midnight, 9:00 am to 2:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays and from 3:00 pm until midnight on Sundays. Frankie V’s is closed on Monday.

The telephone number for reservations is 219-655-5454.