On The Silly Side by Jimmy Del Ponte
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Here is part four of my look back at Somerville establishments that are gone but not forgotten. Some bars/restaurants were tougher than others. I remember Frascati’s being a place where you could always find a few very tough characters. It was one of those places where you might pop into if you found yourself in need of some old school strong-arm back-up. There were at least two families of brothers who used to hang in Frascati’s so you could be sure to find some “help.” Frascati’s was also famous for their pizza. It was located where the Goodwill store is now. Gem jewelers were right next door.
There were a lot of pizza places in Davis Square during the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80s. We could have called it Pizzaville back then. Frascati’s had some pretty good Italian dishes like stuffed shrimp, and veal parm. You could park in the back and enjoy a true neighborhood hangout.
I found out that Andrea Frascati owned it and her son’s name was Michael. I don’t remember ever meeting them. Mostly because I was usually at my old stomping ground, Barnaby’s. I started hanging at Barnaby’s, which was formerly The Coronet, and now it is Redbones, around 1988.
People who were there tell us that the walls of Frascati’s were painted blue, and the place was dark, long and narrow. This was relayed to us from a lady who used to go into pick up a pre-ordered pizza with her dad. She would have a coke while her dad had a beer.
A friend’s parents actually met at Frascati’s and the place was always special to their family. Here’s a story; “I remember Michael D’s father either owned it or managed it for a while. We were there often. I remember the fire at Gem Jewelers next door on New Year’s Eve.” They also added that some people (we obviously can’t name them) helped themselves to some jewelry as the place burned!
I found another great story from the Frascati era. Two young ladies I know (Diane and Susan), who ate many dinners at Frascati’s, were also dancers at the Helen Nichols dance studio. Diane actually taught Somerville’s own Paul Carafotes his dance routine for his part in the movie Headin’ For Broadway in 1980. You could also find Frosty and his brother in Frascatis.
Some friends told me that they had stories about Frascati’s but could not talk about them. This gal, however, did share her Frascati’s story with us. “My mother and I would go there twice a week for lunch when I was a teenager. I would have roast beef or an open-faced turkey sandwich and mashed potatoes and gravy. My mother always got the Salisbury steak. We would shop at Cummings and Gorins, and walk home together. Great memories!” There was a waitress named Ester who served a roast beef dinner that was a deal at 2 for $10.
My friend tells me that he used to go into Fascati’s with his grandpa. He would sit on the bar and have a coke while grandpa had a beer. Then they would go over to the Smoke Shop for a newspaper and a comic book. My pal Ron used to take his shoeshine kit to Davis Square and set up outside all the bars. Someone tells me that during the blizzard of ‘78 Frascati’s was the only place open in Davis Square and it was packed. We’re not sure but we think it closed around 1981 or so.
So, Frascati’s is yet another name that brings back many different memories for different people. A name that, like many others, is just a memory. We think back to those times when it was a buzzing, hopping place, nothing like the bars and pubs that now fill Davis Square. Frascati’s was where you could find true, street tough and savvy Somerville natives, and a damn good slice of pizza.