Just look at all those steaming weenies. 20 different varieties are pictured above, but the variations are endless.

Welcome to the world of Frankie's. I've enjoyed their hot dogs, burgers, fried clams, and fried mushrooms since I was a kid. A Waterbury institution that has been slinging the grub since the year my father was born, 1937.

We were invited to take a peek into the brand new Brookfield Frankie's, which is located in the Brookfield Square Shopping Plaza at 270 Federal Road. We sent our own Joe LaRocca over to check the place out and take a few pics for us, mainly because I cannot be trusted within 25 feet of a Frankie's. I guarantee that I will totally ignore you in order to get my face wrapped around a chili dog.

Joe was lucky enough to interview royalty in my book, owners Tom and Paul Martelli.

The guys graciously filled us in on the family and restaurant history. Frankie's was started in the 1930s by their Uncle and Grandfather Frank and Paul Caiazzo -- hardworking Italian-immigrant brothers, who hustled their way into owning several businesses before they were 14 years old. About 5 years into business, Grandfather Paul came up with the idea of a footlong hotdog, a concept that has endured for the Caiazzo family 82 years later.

A lot of times people say how lucky they are to own such a Connecticut landmark, but they said, "Most people don't see the hard work, or how many of our kid's dances or activities that we've missed over the years for the greater good of Frankie's. That's everybody in the family. We're nothin' special. We are the same hardworking people as our uncles, cousins, Great Uncle Frank, Grandpa Paul, and the people who love our food." 

Connecticut's newest Frankie's is slated to open on Tuesday, November 26, provided all goes according to plan of course, and when we asked about why they chose to finally take on the Greater Danbury area, they said, "Our landlord, Garrett, said he had an opening and he wants Frankie’s to fill the space. 'I got one available spot in all my plazas, and I want Frankie’s there.' Once we met those guys, they were like family right off the bat."

As far as the food itself goes, the Brookfield menu, which will feature over 65 different menu items, will be very similar to the other locations, but with a few subtle differences. "When I say slightly, there are a couple add ons, and a couple takeaways," said Martelli. "We’re trying to find what the market wants the most, what our guests would be really excited about. There are certain things we want to bring our here that we don’t have at our Waterbury location [or any other location] that people would appreciate." It goes without saying, but the food is something that the Caiazzo's are very proud of, noting that, “Frankie’s is different from most fast food restaurants because of our menu. It’s not like we can get anyone on the backline to cook this food. That’s our claim to fame. They say we are the 'Gourmet of Fastfood' and that’s the reason why.”

One of the primary goals that Frankie's has for the Brookfield location is that they "Really want to be involved in the community. We want to look back 10 years from now at a bunch of memories that took place where we enhanced the quality of life for the community. We know we’ve been blessed and we’re very grateful. We thank God for everything we have. We want to be able to give back too."

And finally, of course, the request has been laid out there, and they would love to create a "Brookfield Dog." Can we bottle up the essence of the Four Corners? A hint of the sweet new sidewalks on Federal Road? A dash of New Milford envy? Cover that with some famous Frankie's relish, and I think we have a weeiner (Huh-huh-huh-huh.)

Good luck, Frankie's of Brookfield. I will absolutely be there opening week to get my two dogs with fried mushrooms. God, I can't wait.

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