Two employees of a beloved Brooklyn pizzeria closing for good Sunday are raising money for a documentary that chronicles its final days and explores the future of family-run neighborhood restaurants in New York City.
“A Love Letter to Franny’s” will attempt to answer the “question on everyone’s mind,” explains the film’s GoFundMe campaign page: “Why is Franny’s closing?”
Owners Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg announced the Park Slope-Prospect Heights restaurant’s imminent closure on its website in July, offering no explanation other than “it’s time to say goodbye” and declining to elaborate to the press. The couple opened their locavore-leaning pizzeria — a favorite among neighbors and a destination for Manhattanites — in a Flatbush Avenue location down the block from its current space in 2004.
Their reflections and memories are among those collected over the past month by documentarians and Brooklyn residents Jillian LaVinka, a bartender at Franny’s since 2008, and Alyssa Schroeter, a server since 2015. LaVinka and Schroeter have also interviewed regular customers and past and present coworkers, according to their project’s fundraising page. The filmmakers did not respond to a request for an interview by press time.
Their campaign, which launched Aug. 14, had raised almost $2,400 to cover production costs as of Sunday evening. The project aims to raise a total of $10,000.
Franny’s management has apparently given the documentary its blessing, linking to the campaign on Instagram: “We have been so lucky to have such creative, talented, and overall stupendous people as part of the framily over the years!” reads a post directing followers to the GoFundMe website.
The restaurant hosted a standing-room-only goodbye party for its customers Sunday, serving hors d'oeuvres, pizza and wine.