Niagara Gazette


January 9, 2014

DELUCA: Frankie's has fans who are sweet on his dough


Niagara Gazette — Frankie is a husky guy with close-cropped, salt-and-pepper hair and a trimmed beard and goatee. He wears a a big, white apron and a small, gold hoop earring in each ear.  A father of three, his kids all work at the shop, including Frankie Jr., April, whose hoping to be a Falls cop soon, and Peter, a junior at the high school. A grandfather to April’s Allyanna, 2, and D.J., 1,  he doesn’t seem to like to tell people how old he is. I get the feeling, having met him, that he’s a giant kid at heart.

Terry told me that while the place never closes — not even during the storm on Tuesday — Frankie doesn’t like to leave.  He’s definitely not like that old guy on those TV commercials years back who used to grumble “time to make the doughnuts.”

“He loves being here. He loves the doughnuts. He loves the people,” she said. And sitting next to her in a booth near the counter, he agrees. “They’re like family,” he said of his customers. “They’re like part of me.” 

He’s also pretty funny. Frankie’s been known to walk through the restaurant, flipping peoples’ hats around, blowing in their ears, making funny comments that might make the more gentile customers blush. 

“Everyday he has a new audience. He has hundreds of people to tease, all day long,” Terry said.  Clearly, she likes this guy — her life partner of 30 years — the man who hired her to work in the shop 30 years ago when she was 17. 

She’s not the only one. Frankie’s seems like the kind of place they make TV sitcoms about.

Carmen Falbo and Ziggy Ciszek were sitting at the end of the counter when I walked in. Both retired, they’ve been regulars since forever, driving in from Pendleton and Sanborn respectively, to have coffee as often as they can. “Frankie’s the best guy in town,” Ciszek told me. “He’d do anything for you,” Carmen nodded.

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