Welcome to Frank’s Place.
Open since May 1968, the restaurant at 57 Jefferson St., Simpson, strives to treat its community members like family. It offers an extensive food and cocktail menu and also provides discounts to seniors and military members.
Chef’s Table recently chatted with co-owner Frank Cerminaro, who views his restaurant as a way of life.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: In May of 1968, my parents, Frank and Joann, opened … a classic mom-and-pop tavern, serving beer, whiskey and family recipes. They treated their friends and customers like family, and we strive to do the same. Whether you order a drink or dinner, you’re likely to get a side dish of story, joke or local anecdote with it, free of charge.
My family lived above the tavern. Back then, the tavern was open 19 hours a day, 365 days a year, and sometimes around the clock. They would even open on Christmas day for a few customers who needed a hot meal. Men from the railroad would park the train across the street early in the morning. My father would open the tavern, go back to bed, and the men would make breakfast, have a few beers, leave money and head back to work a few hours later. In the late ’80s, my father’s health declined and he asked me to help with the tavern, so we added new dishes to grow the business. We lost my dad in 1993, but his spirit lives on in me, my brother Chris, and the staff and patrons who knew him. This is not just a job for us but a way of life.
Q: What type of food do you serve?
A: Italian-American cuisine (with) sizeable salads, steaks and burgers, seafood, pastas, specialty sandwiches and much more. We like to say, “There’s something on the menu for everyone,” but if you don’t see what you like, just ask. Our kitchen team will gladly take special orders. All our food is prepared on premise and made to order.
Q: What’s your specialty?
A: High-quality, hand-cut steaks; fresh, hand-cut calamari; hand-pressed burgers; slow-roasted meats; top-notch seafood and fish. Generous portions at reasonable prices. Many of our customers can make two to three meals out of one entrée.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: It all started with family recipes from my mother. Through the years, we’ve tried new dishes and let our customers decide if it should be added to the menu. As if our six-page menu wasn’t enough, our team of chefs and sous chefs continually create new specials every day.
Q: What are your most popular dishes and drinks?
A: Our most popular sharable appetizer is a large plate of lightly coated Fried Calamari with marinara or tossed in a Thai chili sauce. We are known for our slow-roasted Prime Rib seared in a Montreal seasoning. The Brazilian Lobster Tail special is a long-time favorite of many. Our chefs have outdone themselves with a few specialty pastas, such as Crab and Shrimp Spinach Fettuccine, Chicken Proscuitto and Lobster, Crab and Seafood Fra Diablo. Our extensive cocktail menu highlights Long Island Iced Tea, margaritas, martinis and mules. We have 16 draft beers ranging from domestics to craft beer, including local favorites that change frequently.
Q: What type of seating do you have?
A: Over the past 30 years, we have significantly expanded our space — an addition on the back to accommodate large parties and events, a covered outdoor seating area with heaters and more high-top tables in the bar area. Oh, and also additional parking.
Q: What kinds of specials do you offer?
A: Steak Night Dinner is served Mondays for $19.95, and Lobster Dinner are served Wednesdays and Fridays for $24.95. Senior discount is 10% every day from noon to 4:30 p.m. Military discount is 10% every day.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: We can accommodate any need you have for your special occasion, including on-premise groups of up to 100 for buffet or served meals. Off-premise catering (includes) buffet style and a large menu of a la carte catering trays.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: We’re here 50 years. We’ve weathered a lot of storms. Our community support has been absolutely amazing. We’re not planning to go anywhere, except in the direction of another 50 years.
Q: Do you offer takeout, delivery or curbside pickup?
A: Our kitchen remains open, and our staff is working hard to maintain our reputation of high standards of food and cleanliness. The full menu is available to order online or by phone for curbside pickup or delivery. Hours are posted on our Facebook page at this time.
Q: How can the community help if they want to support the restaurant?
A: We are providing free meals for people in our community who are in need as long as we are able. Our Facebook page (FranksPlaceSimpson) is updated daily with details on ordering and pickup. All of this has been possible by the generosity of people within our community. Monetary donations can be made over the phone, in person or by purchasing a gift card on our website and noting “donation.” We are here to weather this storm with you.
Frank’s Place Restaurant & Bar
Address: 57 Jefferson St., Simpson
Phone: 570-282-6655 or 570-282-0159
Established: May 1968
Owners: Frank, Kelly, Chris and Joann Cerminaro
Normal hours: Mondays, 4 to 10 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 10 p.m.
Current hours: Mondays, noon to 8 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 8 p.m. The restaurant currently offers curbside pickup or delivery.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. Additionally, Laura curates events online and copy edits print editions of the Life&Times and Weekend Times sections of the newspaper. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz