Fort Lauderdale’s Franco & Vinny’s Italian restaurant to close after 50 years

It’s the end of an era for the Fort Lauderdale institution founded in 1971

Franco & Vinny's Italian Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale is closing after 50 years. (Courtesy of Hudon Crafted)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Known as the “Pizza Shack” to locals and tourists alike, Franco & Vinny’s in Fort Lauderdale is closing after 50 years of serving the community authentic Italian cuisine and delicious artisan pizza.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the local institution is closing after first opening its doors back in 1971. Owned by brothers Vincenzo Esposito and the late Franco Esposito, the restaurant has been situated at the same location along Sunrise Boulevard since its early beginnings.

However, the choice to close is of owner Vincenzo Esposito’s decision to retire at the age of 79, and not due to the pandemic. According to Esposito, business has actually been booming since early 2020. However, after the death of his brother at the age of 76, he has decided to retire in order to live his life and spend more quality time with his family.

Franco & Vinny's Italian restaurant and pizza shack is closing after serving Fort Lauderdale for 50 years. (Courtesy of Franco & Vinny's)

Described by the restaurant itself as the “Fort Lauderdale world-famous ‘Pizza Shack,’” the restaurant has been known for serving authentic, down-to-earth, and affordable Italian dishes and artisan pizzas to generations of locals.

One glance at the restaurant’s reviews on Yelp and you can’t help but feel nostalgic. Yelp reviewer Don M. says, “I have been eating at Franco & Vinny’s Pizza Shack since February 1973! I owned a hotel and well-known beach night club there from 73-88. During those years I ate there once a week and never had a bad meal. Their pizza is CLASSIC. But I go there for the classic Italian dishes done to perfection.”

Another reviewer, Babbs M., writes, “What many may not know is that the Pizza Shack has been in the same location for decades because they have the best pizza in town. Period. Possibly the best anywhere,” they write. “I am a native of Laudy and this has been my family’s go-to spot for Italian food since its beginnings.”

Some of the restaurant’s most popular menu items include their pizzas, lobster ravioli, chicken parmigiana, penne alla vodka, baked ziti, and their authentic Italian desserts. However, as most reviews say, “You can’t go wrong with any dish!”

Photo of Franco & Vinny's lobster ravioli. The Italian restaurant is closing after serving Fort Lauderdale for 50 years. (Courtesy of Matt Mucks)

Those who wish to dine at the iconic Italian restaurant one last time can stop by until the end of April (although the official closing date has yet to be confirmed by the owner).

Franco & Vinny’s is located at 2884 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Hours are 4-11 p.m. daily. Call 954-564-9522 or visit FrancoAndVinnys.com for more information.


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