The story begins in 1922 when Frank & Ralph Lodice immigrating to Buffalo from Naples, Italy.
In 1924, the brothers opened the Ball Park Restaurant on East Ferry near Michigan Avenue in Buffalo. Frank and Ralph worked the Restaurant for 33 years. During that time Frank married Natali Maffiee and had two children, Carol and Gennaro.
In 1958, the restaurant property was sold. Ralph retired from the restaurant business while Frank, still eager to stay in business, looked for a suburban location.
In December of 1958, Frank Iodice purchased the Sager Restaurant at 5820 Broadway, Lancaster and opened it under the name of Frank’s Grille. Frank Iodice ran Frank’s until his passing in December of 1965. Upon his death, his children took over the business.
By the end of 1967, Gennaro Iodice became the sole proprietor of Franks Grille. He operated the restaurant for 26 years creating a neighborhood bar and restaurant serving excellent food and drink. Roast beef was always a menu favorite as well as cube steaks and corned beef sandwiches on St. Patrick’s Day.
In the meantime, Dan Amatura owned and operated Magruders Restaurant on Broadway from 1978 to 1983 and before that Trysting Place on Cleveland Drive in Cheektowaga.
After selling Magruders, Dan told Gennaro that if he was ever interested in selling Frank’s to give him call. That call came 10 years later!
Dan bought Frank’s Grille in 1993 and has sought to maintain the neighborhood traditions established by the Lodice family while incorporating his own special touches in response to guests’ requests. While roast beef is still the signature sandwich, the menu has expanded to include a variety of burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, chicken wings, pizzas, ﬁsh fries, dinners and daily specials.
In 1996 a catering division was established that started with Franks roast beef “to go” and has evolved into a full service operation featuring drop off and on site catering. Menus can be customized for any event; breakfasts, cocktail parties, lunches, dinners, holiday parties, communion parties, graduation parties, etc. Dan built an additional kitchen to accommodate the increased food preparation.
In 2008 an outside patio was added that almost doubled seating capacity and is a popular seating request from May to October. The Patio can be reserved for special events with some restrictions.
And so…while the story began in 1922, the end of the story is yet to be written. The old traditions continue, new ones are made and we will all have to wait and see what the future brings!
Thank you for your patronage and being part of the neighborhood traditions we are establishing!