In the past few weeks I read articles, Tweets, and Facebook posts that made my heart stop. Swanky Franks in Westport had closed its doors. Forget heart stopping, actually I think mine just broke.
You see, I’m sad. Swanky Franks was my nostalgia when it came to eating out. Go ahead, think it’s silly, that’s totally fine.
While growing up in Norwalk, Swanky’s was the first place I really fell in love with good hot dogs and fries. All my friends wanted fast food from chain restaurants and I waited for my mom to take me to get my favorite stuff at Swanky’s; a cheeseburger, a chili dog, fries, and sometimes a grape drink. Don’t worry, I know that grape stuff was just Kool-Aid, but it was well made! If my mom wouldn’t take me, I knew I could appeal to my grandfather when he pulled up in his car after he finished a shift at Carnegie Tool Co. or wait out the week and a phone call from my uncle when he asked, “What do you want? I’m at Swanky’s.”
Some of you might say, “Damn dude. You know Swanky’s has a Norwalk location, right?!” True. The sign above it says “Swanky Franks” but after that legal spat between former/new owners the Renzuella Family and former Norwalk owner and owner of all the other locations including Westport, Robert Manere, I found myself not liking the Norwalk location after Bobby was gone. I’m not here to complain but I should mention that after Manere was out of the Norwalk Swanky’s, I was served supermarket frozen French fries ensuring that I’d never go back there again.
|Heart = Broken. And look! A Tweet from fellow Food Dude, Rob!|
After that Frozen Fry Conspiracy the Westport Swanky Franks became my saving grace. I even worked nearby at the Mobil part time and I think I stayed on even when I had other jobs just because Swanky’s was right next door and I was cool with the crew there and got frequent deliveries of all my childhood guilty pleasures.
Eventually I had to quit Mobil for bigger and better things so I didn’t visit the Westport Swanky’s as much but I still made it out on occasion for what I considered a great “hot dog chili” and I sometimes ordered two of those bad boys. Other favorites at Swanky’s were a custom sandwich that when I ordered it, whomever scribbled it down usually uttered, “Wow. That sounds sooo good.” That sandwich…Steak, cheese, bacon, lettuce, mayo, and a handful of onion rings right on the sandwich! Bam! Oh yeah, and their fresh cuts before fresh cuts were the “in” thing were the bomb also.
I will miss all that and I deeply regret not going back for one last dog and an order of fries.
Now Swanky Franks on the Post Road in Westport will become a bar? No thanks. I don’t care who takes it over or how good their food is, if the ambiance is phenomenal or if they make great drinks, I’ll never go there. Hang out in Westport? I’ll pass on the bar scene there all the time. I agree with a CTbites commenter that said, “Heck, let me grab my tweed jacket and my oxfords, and head out to the pub…Hell no.” Well said, my brother.
Was Swanky Franks the best? Of course not, but it was damn good and a great roadside spot to grab a quick bite. No one ever forgets their first. I will never forget Swanky Franks.