Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill tries hard to meet the needs of every single sports fan in the 817. You can eat, drink, and watch any kind of sport you can think of –– Frankie’s has too many large-screen televisions to count, including the one in the women’s bathroom. Really? None of the women I know want to watch television that badly.
Most of Frankie’s servers are young women, and they all wear that tank-top-and-shorts uniform popular at establishments serving up sports with a side of wings. But Frankie’s doesn’t look like your average breastaurant –– the swanky leather couches, exposed brick, and painted concrete floors give the place a lounge-y feel. And unlike Hooters and most other babes-beers-and-burgers hangouts, Frankie’s takes food seriously.
The All-Star sampler is probably the best way to crack into the oddly diverse menu. Wings, queso, chips, fried pickles, loaded fries, and Badger Balls (fried cheese curds) came out on a huge tray –– the kind of tray servers use to bring out drinks to a table of eight. The appetizer was more than enough to serve six hungry adults instead of the two quasi-hungry adults and one very hungry pre-teen at the table. For wings, you get to choose from nine flavors. The Cardinals (with spicy sriracha sauce) sounded too hot to be safe. The Walter Payton wings, billed as “spicy with just a touch of sweetness,” sounded good and tasted even better: deliciously crispy, definitely sweet, and barely spicy.
The queso was surprisingly tasty, satisfyingly thick, and zesty –– no watery Velveeta dip here, although it’s likely that some EZ-melt product was used. The fried pickles –– dill slices in a cornmeal batter –– were some of the weirdest, most scrumptious appetizers I’ve ever eaten: super salty, slightly crunchy, and chewy. The Badger Balls (named after the mascot of the University of Wisconsin, in the land of all things dairy) managed to be crunchy while retaining that signature squeaky texture. You either like the squeaky, brackish cheese remnants, or you don’t. If you like them, this recipe is one of the best.
The only part of the All-Star that was mostly left on the plate after all was said and done was the homestyle fries. Loaded with cheese, chives, and real bacon, they weren’t bad, but the other four choices were better.
In all honesty, my table of three could have stopped there. But the menu claimed the pizza sauce and dough were made in-house. So we ordered a pizza with sausage and Canadian bacon. The toppings were fresh, and the thin crust was fine. But the sauce was really just chunks of tomato and barely covered the pie. The whole package was passable but not great. Maybe it needed more sauce, or maybe the sauce needed more seasoning.
The Muhammad Ali burger also sounded too good to pass up. The double-patty sandwich came out with super-fresh, almost inedibly hot jalapeños, gooey habanero-jack cheese, and deliciously sweet grilled onions, all on a toasted bun. Picking off the raw jalapeños made the sandwich much easier on the taste buds. The burger came with a choice of side –– instead of fries, we opted for the homemade macaroni and cheese. The mild noodles oozing with cheese arrived with a nicely baked, crunchy topping. Fair warning: This mac ’n’ cheese is not your store-bought orange-powdered-cheese variety. If you order this for someone who prefers that style of “cooking,” he or she won’t like it.
The only real disappointment? The Best Damn Chicken Salad Sandwich –– Period. It wasn’t. Again, it wasn’t awful, just generic chicken salad on a really nice brioche bun.
The Fort Worth location of the mini-chain (the original location is in Dallas) has been open for well over a year. In addition to the many beverage specials chronicled by Last Call earlier this year (“Frankie’s Cathode Rays,” Apr. 11), Frankie’s has a decent lunch menu and weekend brunch service. The place is raucously loud but kid-friendly, at least during lunch hour. Service is good and quick, and the menu is diverse enough to accommodate a variety of appetites.
Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill
425 W 3rd St, FW. 817-870-9090. 11am-2am daily. All major credit cards accepted.
All-Star sampler ……………………. $12.99
Pizza (two toppings) ……………… $10.99
Muhammad Ali burger ……………… $9.99
Side of macaroni and cheese …… $1.99
Lunch chicken salad sandwich … $7.99