Martinis, fine dining at ‘new’ Frankie’s

Published 6:33 pm Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frankie's Place is celebrating a grand re-opening this season under the new management of Lee Rosenhagen. The restaurant and martini bar now offers a new menu and a unique experience in fine dining. Photo by Jessica Sieff


Step inside Frankie’s Place in Union Pier and no matter what the occasion, guests are likely to be treated to a unique experience inside a unique restaurant just off the beaten path in southwest Michigan.

Under new management, the restaurant is celebrating a grand reopening.

For those familiar with Frankie’s, the integrity of the restaurant is intact.

Inside, theĀ  dark wood interior is given a soft glow by orb-like clusters of light, and large windows overlook a pleasing view that accentuates the restaurant’s location.

Under soft light, a windowside table overlooks a line of green trees, outdoor lights and the ever so often passing of a train gives off the feeling that dinner is being served in the comfort of a secret hideaway.

New manager Lee Rosenhagen likes it that way and aims to give every guest coming into Frankie’s – now in its third season – a memorable experience.

“We really take everything to the extreme,” he said.

Rosenhagen, who says he’s known the owner of the establishment for nearly 10 years, took over Frankie’s restructured the menu, prepped his staff and opened the doors two weeks later.

“We really are basically a brand new restaurant,” Rosenhagen said.

Brand new, with a focus on fine dining, a strong attention to detail and yet the laid back quality of a Rat Pack hang out.

If Joey, Sammy, Dean or Frank were to set food inside Frankie’s they’d likely favor the classically designed martini bar with a central tap featuring only craft beers and shelves of the finest liquors.

Rosenhagen says he makes fresh purees daily for a variety of martinis.

Guests can also take time to enjoy Michigan’s prime summer weather. Frankie’s has a patio area that includes bar and table seating, outdoor televisions, heaters and a fireplace.

“We greet (guests) like they’re coming into our home,” Rosenhagen said.

And cater to them accordingly. At Frankie’s, servers have assistants to ensure that each guest is getting the best service.

Rosenhagen is coming to Frankie’s with 16 years of experience in the restaurant industry. And he’s put together a staff to provide that service while also providing a menu of creative dishes using fresh ingredients.

The new menu includes appetizers like jumbo prawn cocktail and crab cakes with sun-dried tomato aioli, an 8-ounce Kobe beef burger as one of its sandwich options and entrees such as salmon foyot, twin South African lobster tails, Alaskan king crab legs, stuffed chicken breast and a selection of steaks.

Both Rosenhagen’s executive chef and grill master are “local boys” and both spent some time cooking in separate establishments in Las Vegas.

“Really what I’ve done is I’ve brought in a staff that I’ve worked with and I know their abilities,” he said.