Franco’s Pizzeria is a new restaurant located in the heart of downtown Ithaca on West State Street. Getting there was a bit of a hike from campus, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Upon walking in, the first thing I noticed was how empty it was, not because there was a lack of patrons, but because much of the interior is lacking in furniture and decor. Combined with white walls and a checkered floor, this emptiness lends the restaurant a clean, minimalist atmosphere. What struck me most about the design of the restaurant is that customers can watch the pizza being prepared in the open kitchen — this made me feel very confident in how the food is made and how often new dishes are brought out.
What I like most about Franco’s is that it does not try to be something that it isn’t. Instead, it focuses on doing what it does well. Drinks are taken off shelves by customers; there is one salad; and if you choose to order dessert, there is a grand choice of two options: the “dessert of the day” or cannoli. The restaurant has few frills, which is a good thing as it allows the focus to be on serving high-quality pizza.
The pizza was extremely flavorful and fresh, with a wonderfully crispy thin crust, and was by far the best that I have had in Ithaca. There are a significant number of options to choose from including choices of regular and deluxe toppings for the pizzas, garlic knots, stromboli and calzones (although these were relatively expensive). I tried both the pepperoni and the chicken and bacon pizzas, and must say that while they were both delicious, the chicken and bacon in particular was bursting with flavor. While they do not advertise named pizzas, they do have a number of interesting combinations of toppings, many of which I had not seen before, all for sale by the slice.
The overall experience eating at Franco’s was very enjoyable. The staff was both friendly and efficient, chatting with returning customers and newcomers alike, while at the same time ensuring service was prompt. The great service, combined with upbeat music in the background and decent food, allowed me to completely forget about the stresses of college life — if only for thirty minutes — something that I have found dining halls often fail to do. Given the quality, the prices are quite reasonable at $3.75 for a slice with two toppings or $11 for a small, whole cheese pizza. Overall, I have every intention of returning for a slice the next time I’m downtown.
Serves: Pizza by both the pie and slice, calzones, stromboli
Vibe: fast casual