Old Frankie & Benny’s site to become a Burger King Drive-Thru

Now that the Frankie and Benny restaurant has closed on Flowerdown Retail Park. It would appear that the site will become a  Burger King with a drive-thru. Planning applications posted to the council show how the site will be converted into a drive-thru and local businesses have been consulted on the change.

I am not a great fan of fast food burger joints, so I think the chances of ever eating out there is very slim. If I am going out to eat I like the whole dining experience, queuing for a brown paper bag full of fast food, is not really my thing.

Combine this news with the new KFC opening up at the old Homebase in Queensway, Worle, the closure of Prezzo and Pizza Express, the eating out scene in Weston is slowly turning into one of fast food and drive-thru eating.

With all the exciting stuff that happens in Bristol on the food scene, it’s a pity that Weston is going down this fast food road.

Frankie and Benny’s in Weston-super-Mare may close

Update 21st June 2021: The restaurant has closed and is being converted into a burger joint with a drive through.

Update 27th August 2020: Updated the article with a photograph and text relating to the removal of the external signage.

Well after blogging about the closure of Pizza Express in Weston-super-Mare, it is now rumoured, but not confirmed, that the branch of Frankie and Benny’s in Weston-super-Mare will not be reopening after closed for lockdown. 

The fact that when taking a photograph for this blog post, all the main signage had been removed, says to me, it will not be opening again.

It should be said that the company behind Frankie and Benny’s was in trouble before the pandemic closed restaurants and was looking at closing branches across the country. I wasn’t too surprised, they changed their menu and branding to more of an American style, and though they were Italian-American, I think they started to lose some of their appeal by losing the Italian aspects of their brand.

I don’t recall my last visit there, I know we had a Christmas breakfast there in 2017 and I had a birthday meal there in 2015, but I don’t think I have been there more recently than that.

Initially we stopped going there as their gluten free offering was quite poor, but they did change that a few years ago I believe, so we went a few times in 2017. I think another reason was that too often we were disappointed with the food and service. Also with Prezzo and Pizza Express opening in Dolphin Square there was more choice about where to go out to eat. Though, what with Pizza Express closing and now the probable closure of Frankie and Benny’s means now we have less choice.

So now waiting for confirmation of closure.

 

Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2017

This year I have written 41 blog posts. In 2016 I wrote 28 posts.

In the Birdcage

The tenth most popular post on the blog was about the Pret A Manger Italian Chicken Salad I had in 2013. I have had it quite few times since.

Ninth place, was a reminder from 2013, that if I ever go to Frankie and Benny’s again, don’t order the pasta! I have never had pasta again at F&Bs.

The post as number eight was about Sainsbury’s Cooking Chorizo, Having used cooking chorizo from Tesco, Marks and Spencers and Sainsbury, I much prefer using the chorizo from Tesco or Marks and Spencers.

The number seven post was from ten years ago, Pasta in Tomato Sauce. A recipe for a very quick and easy dish with a lovely piquant tomato sauce.

Pasta in Tomato Sauce

Sixth post was about the Wagamama Pork Ribs I had in 2011.

Post number five for last twelve months was Basil & pine nut margherite, a simple pasta recip.

Reminiscing about Newquay Steam Beer was the fourth most read post on the blog.

The third most popular post was not about just any pork medallions, but Marks and Spencers’ Pork Medallions.

Second most popular blog, having been top for two years was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google.

In at number one is Chilli Squid from Wagamama, climbing one place. This popular post was one of the many on the blog about squid, however it is now quite old being from 2011 and the visit was the same one that I had the ribs.

So popularity appears to be dependent on older posts being found via Google searches. Hopefully 2018 will see more posts and more people seeing those posts.

Birthday Bash with Benny (and Frankie)

I went out for a meal with the family, at Frankie and Benny’s to celebrate my birthday. I had thought about cooking a meal, or even going further afield, however as it was a school night we decided to go somewhere local.

As it was my birthday, I “joined” the F&B Birthday Club, which means that my meal was free, if another main course is purchased. Now I did think what that actually meant was that I had to buy one meal, and get one free, with the cheapest one being free. What it actually meant was that the meal that I chose would be the free one. So looking over the menu I decided on the rib eye steak.

Our succulent 8oz* 28 day aged rib eye steak is best cooked medium, served with a roasted tomato, flat mushrooms, onion rings and a fresh watercress garnish. Choose from house fries, salad or a jacket.

I felt slightly cheeky as this was the second most expensive item on the menu, only the Mixed Grill was more expensive, but I like a nice rib eye steak. I was secondly cheeky asking for half and half, fries and salad. When asked how I liked my steak, I said medium-rare.

The restaurant was quite busy, so the food took a little while to arrive, as I cut into my steak I was disappointed to find that it had been cooked well-done, as a result it was slightly tough and lacked flavour. Not too happy about that I called over a member of the waiting staff. I showed her the cut steak, and she was excellent about it, she said she would get a fresh steak for me.

As that was cooking, she came over and explained that another customer had complained that her steak was underdone, they believed there had been a slight mix-up in the kitchen.

My new steak arrived, a complete fresh dish. with new fries and new salad. This time the steak was done to my taste, it was tender and tasty and a nice chargrilled flavour. The fries were crispy, with a nice crunch. The salad was simple, it came already dressed and was fresh and tasty. Overall I was pleased with the dish.

As for everything else, the food was great and enjoyed by all. When the bill came, not only was my meal free, but they had also paid for my drink due to the kitchen mix-up, nice little extra piece of good service.

Chicken Pitta

We went to Frankie and Benny’s for lunch. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so after looking over the menu I went with the chicken pitta. It came with fries, a hunk of sweetcorn and a (small) portion of coleslaw.

The chicken was grilled and then had some barbecue sauce added.

It was quite tasty all in.

Crab Cake Salad

Taking lunch at Frankie and Benny’s and wanting something rather light, I went with the Crab Salad.

Crab Cake

The menu describes it as “Our large oven baked crab cake served on a bed of mixed leaves with tomato, roasted red pepper and onion, tossed in our sweet chilli dressing with half a chargrilled lemon on the side.”

I was really interested to see how this was going look and taste, I did initially expect a heavy crab cake, with more potato than crab. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the crab cake was made in the main with crab. There was a good flavour and texture, I liked the subtle crispness on the outside, the soft textured inside.

I did enjoy the salad, though I think if I was going to have this again I would ask for no dressing. The sweet chilli dressing was a little too sticky and sweet for me. I think I would have preferred olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I was slightly disappointed with the salad when writing this review as the menu description talks about roasted red peppers, and there were no red peppers. I hadn’t noticed when I was eating it, so didn’t complain at the time. I didn’t see the point of the chargrilled lemon, why chargrill it, it didn’t add anything and it didn’t really need it.

I liked the crab cake, and enjoyed the dish, I would order it again.

Cajun Burger

Cajun Burger

The last time I had a burger at a restaurant was at Bella Italia and I really enjoyed it. It had flavour and texture and was a really enjoyable meal.

On a recent visit to Frankie and Benny’s I had a Cajun Burger. Now I was hoping to get a similar good burger, however I was to be slightly disappointed.

It was a highly processed burger and not what I was expecting at all. It had a very fine texture and wasn’t exactly full of flavour. The bun however was nice and the garnish for the burger was good as well.

The fries were crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The relish came out of a jar, I did expect that, however it is the rare place these days that make their own relishes, and you wouldn’t expect that in a restaurant chain.

The one thing that I would have liked alongside the burger was some salad, but I guess that would be a side order that would be extra.

Overall the Cajun Burger was nice and tasty, I am guessing that my expectations were high and what I got wasn’t what I was expecting.

Don’t buy the pasta!

Remind me please that if I ever go to Frankie and Benny’s again, don’t order the pasta!

You know for am American Italian Diner I am disappointed how they serve pasta, which in my opinion should be a signature dish for them. Similarly how difficult is it to get pasta wrong?

I should have remembered when I ordered the Philly Steak Bake which was not the best pasta dish I had eaten. I should have known better, you would think? The thing is back then my son had ordered the Spaghetti Oceana which looked great and according to my son was delicious.

Chicken Penne Romana

So this time I ordered Chicken Penne Romana, which was penne pasta with chicken breast, spicy pepperoni and pancetta bacon tossed with Mamma’s rich Neapolitan tomato and herb sauce. It came with the choice of fries or salad. Now why on earth did is come with fries, okay partly my fault I should have chosen the salad option! It is a very British thing I believe that to have potatoes and pasta together, you know lasagne and chips for example.

Next time, choose the salad, next time… well next time I won’t choose the pasta so it won’t be a problem.

So what about the pasta? Let’s be straight, it certainly wasn’t an awful dish, so bad I couldn’t eat it. No it was certainly edible and I did finish the dish. The thing is, it could have been so much better. The so called rich tomato sauce, was anything but rich, and lacked flavour and richness. It was too bland and it was this that really marked down the quality of the dish. When you read the description “tossed with Mamma’s rich Neapolitan tomato and herb sauce” you kind of expect that to be the case, the reality was that didn’t happen, the pasta was in the bowl and the sauce poured on top. If you wanted it tossed you were going to have to do that yourself.

It was a pity that the dish turned out the way it did, as the concept sounded really good.

I wish I had ordered that…

Sometimes when going out to eat I think about what I would like to eat, of course you then make a choice, but when the food eventually arrives, you think, I wish I had ordered that.

Of course it doesn’t always work that way, usually I am happy with what I have ordered, and sometimes I am really glad I ordered what I did, but now and again you wish you could have chosen differently.

I had a recent experience of that at Frankie and Benny’s where I had ordered the Philly Steak Bake.

My son had gone with the Spaghetti Oceana (£9.25). Spaghetti tossed in our Neapolitan tomato sauce with large prawns, clams and garlic. Served with a fresh rocket, tomato and red onion salad sprinkled with Grana Padano and half a char-grilled lemon on the side for added flavour.

Spaghetti Oceana

This looked fantastic and according to my son tasted great.

My wife went with the Californian Pizza (£9.75). Creamy goat’s cheese, slices of fresh tomato, mixed peppers, sautéed mushrooms and red onion, with melted mozzarella on our tomato and nut pesto base.

Californian Pizza

It looked really nice and she said it was delicious and she finished it off, and there was me hoping that I might get a slice at the end.

This was one of those meals where I wished I had what someone else ordered.

Hmmm, needed more pasta

Having had quite a good experience with our last visit to Frankie and Benny’s we decided wanting to eat out again to visit once more.

I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to eat, and at first was going to go with something I had before. Then I remembered that I had decided that this year to make a noticeable effort to try out new things when eating out.

I usually avoid pasta dishes when eating out, mainly as I find that most places overcook the pasta. However as I was willing to try something new, and didn’t really want pizza, I went with a pasta dish, the Philly Steak Bake at £10.95. This is described as strips of tender steak, red onion, peppers and Philly cheese sauce, oven baked with penne pasta and topped with cheddar cheese.

Philly Steak Pasta Bake at Frankie and Benny's

Probably the best way to describe this dish is to ask if I would order it again.

So would I order it again?

No I wouldn’t!

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t an awful dish, but it certainly was not an outstanding dish. I enjoyed the steak, the cheese sauce was a little too processed for me, however as had anticipated the pasta was overcooked! Maybe it’s just me, I like my pasta al dente, with some bite, this was very soft.