We Love Franco’s, Too

Look for the man in the chef’s hat to find Franco’s on Rte 20 in Sudbury
Ann Needle

By Ann Needle

Subliminal advertising thrives at Franco’s Trattoria in Sudbury — witness the Internet address for this Italian restaurant,welovefrancos.com. This convinces the potential customer to love it, or be un-trendy.

Luckily for Franco and the gang, this family was quite happy.

As the Independent continues its tour of take-out pizza in unusual places and off of Stow’s beaten path, Franco’s naturally popped up, having eaten there occasionally in travels down Route 20. It has always been tasty, and this weekend’s pizza outing did not disappoint. But, do realize how fraught with meaning that statement is.

That is because, on Saturday, the family was witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime event: I was not hungry. (Given you are more likely to nail the Mass Megabucks lottery than to hear that line again, please, soak it in.) But, with Franco’s closed on Sunday and The Boss ordering me to eat, I marched on and ordered up those pies. God bless America.

To get an idea of just how un-hungry I was, I ordered the first three pizzas on Franco’s Speciality Pizza menu, no ambition involved. As it turned out, these were the perfect mix of ingredients for a variety of family tastes.

The Pizza Margarita was a lovely, sauce-less number with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil drizzled with olive oil. (This also can be made with traditional red sauce.) This was real-deal mozarella, melted in fresh clumps, not the sprinkled stuff of many pizzas. The standout was the thin slices of tomato, which tasted as fresh as they should be this time of the year. This is nothing to sneeze at, given many restaurants out there seem adept at hunting down the only old tomatoes in August in Massachusetts.

With the Pizza di Prosciutto, I got a bit nervous, given the seeming hodgepodge of ingredients: Prosciutto; roasted red peppers; tomatoes; Romano, provolone,and mozzarella cheeses; and red sauce. It all worked very, very well, to the point where it’s probably safe to say this was our favorite, with nothing drowning out anything else.

The Bacon Cheeseburger number was a meat-lover’s dream, with lots of hamburger and bacon. I was a bit disappointed that Franco’s didn’t try to jazz up these old, stand-by ingredients. But, they may be on to something — why would the type of diner hankering for a good ol’ piece of comfort food like this want anything out of the ordinary?

Warm weather even brings a few outdoor tables to Franco’s.
Ann Needle

Special Diets Welcome
The good news is this hard-working reporter did manage to sample a bit of each, and enjoyed it. With no appetite, that says a lot.

The depressing news is I missed a whole menu of very intriguing-looking pizzas, from Chicken and Broccoli (think chicken and broccoli without the ziti) to Steak Pizzaiola (man food).

Perhaps most interesting is not only the choices of whole wheat and gluten-free pizzas, but the online, rave reviews on these newer additions to the pizza kitchen. Evidently, the recipes for these were not an afterthought. For those in Stow who need and want to keep away from gluten and processed flour, these are worth checking out.

As great as it is, the pizza gets heavy competition from the FRESH pasta. So many restaurants say their pasta is fresh; but oh, this stuff is fresh off the mill. And, there is a long list of choices.

Another can’t-go-wrong is the panini menu: What cheese lover could turn down a Grilled Cheese with, “fresh mozzarella, American and  provolone cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil”?

As highly rated as Franco’s is, what may keep many in Stow from heading there is — well, it’s in Sudbury. But, it’s only 20 minutes from the center of Stow, and certainly a refreshing change from routine take-out. (By the way, the pizza was still warm when I got it back home.) If you prefer, eat there; it’s a charming eat-in place with counter service. It is located in that strip mall down Rte. 20 from Sudbury Farms, the one whose shop fronts are turned away from the street. But, just look for the little pizza guy statue facing the road, and you’ve found it (turn in and there’s plenty of parking in the rear). Once you’ve lived the Franco’s experience, the trip won’t seem as far.