Maybe Frank is a modern pizzeria with roots firmly in the past. Home to traditional pizzas, old-fashioned service and a name that harks back to the age of Sinatra and his Rat Pack, it’s the epitome of old meets new, with delicious results.
Vince Lombardo and Stefano Catino met as all good Italian men do – discussing their favourite soccer team over cappuccinos. They saw a gap in the market for an Italian restaurant just like those in Stefano’s hometown in Cinque Terre – Vernazza – believing the energy, style and passion went hand in hand with Sydney’s atmosphere. With a lack of Italian venues in Surry Hills, they had the ideal location and concept, and just needed a name.
In their research, they stumbled across an image from the 1960s – a photo of the Marquee Sands Casino in Las Vegas, announcing the night’s acts on a billboard that read, ‘Dean Martin, Maybe Frank, Maybe Sammy’. The image struck a chord with them – after all, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin made the Italian culture cool in post-war America.
As cool as Maybe Frank is, the pizzas and pastas are traditional enough to impress your Nonna. In Roman style, Head Pizzaiolo, Lucio Cobino, lets the dough rest for between 36 and 72 hours, creating a complex flavour. Each ball is then rolled out and topped with market produce, highlighting the best of the season. From there, it’s into the wood-fired oven: 90 seconds in 400°C heat creates a crispy pizza that gets better with every bite.
If you’re a tomato traditionalist, order the Alba: it features Italian sausage, rosemary, truffle and pecorino. In the pizze bianche options, you’ll find delicacies such as the Zafferano, with mozzarella, saffron cream, zucchini and prawn, or the Burratina – a focaccia base laden with burrata, prosciutto and pistachio.
Don’t miss the pastas, made fresh in-house by Ligurian chef, Alessandro Leveratto. Opt for the agnolotti stuffed with pan-fried eggplant and goat’s cheese, or a Southern Italian specialty, spaghetti burrata e colatura – pasta tossed with burrata, anchovies, olive oil, confit tomatoes and breadcrumbs.
In true Italian style, great food is nothing without great wine. All of Maybe Frank’s wines are carefully selected from Italy. Ask Stefano or Vince for a recommendation – every bottle has a story to tell.
Italian beers are available but the real magic happens behind the bar. Bartender, Andrea Gualdi, serves up seasonal cocktails with a modern Italian twist, focusing on aperitifs and digestive cocktails. Rare Italian liqueurs grace the drinks list, often combined with Campari, vermouth, gin, or all of the above. Try the elegant Sophia, a refreshing mix of tequila reposado, Cocchi Rosa, geranium and Fino sherry.
With so many sweet treats on the cocktail list, you may be tempted to skip dessert. It would be a regrettable decision; the Belgian chocolate mousse dome disguises a passionfruit centre, while the traditional tiramisu is the perfect end to an Italian feast. Best of all, each creation is made from scratch by Alessandro, ensuring an exceptional final result.
Maybe Frank brings together tradition and a cool Surry Hills atmosphere to cater for everyone. Generations of families, first dates, groups of friends and locals all stop by to share food, wine and a cocktail or two.