Franky Bradley’s feeds as well as it entertains

Photo by Thom Carroll Photography

If you’re only visiting Franky Bradley’s to catch one of the venue’s many shows or cabaret drag performances and sip cocktails, you are missing out on some considerable talent in the kitchen.

The Gayborhood bar hosts a wide variety of entertainment most nights of the week, but the colorful and hip space also boasts a menu that is sure to surprise and satisfy your sense of taste.

The artsy psychedelic lounge vibe of the saloon’s downstairs bar area is a great setting for the excellently crafted, housemade comfort dishes that often define its menu. That homemade attention to detail is what sets Franky Bradley’s apart from your average bar fare. It’s easy to see why Franky’s Fries ($10) are a house favorite as the hand-cut potatoes are piled high with cheese curds, cheese sauce, braised short rib and scallions. Healthy food the fry pile is not, but it sure hits the spot. The meatballs ($11) have tasty old-world consistency that screams Sunday dinner. The South Philly pierogies ($10) are gigantic and robust, filled to capacity with roasted pork, provolone, spinach and pork jus.

For something a little more sophisticated, the entrees at Franky Bradley’s can compete with the area’s fine-dining establishments. The crispy skin salmon ($18) almost gets upstaged by the shrimp and pea risotto the perfectly cooked piece of fish rests on. The fried leeks and the orange-basil reduction both give the dish a welcome flavor and textural complexity that elevates the overall experience. The housemade gnocchi ($16) has a rustic, wintery feel with the pillowy pasta soaking up the earthy charms of local mushrooms, garlic butter, kale and onions. It feels hearty without being overwhelming and is an ideal dish for a chilly night.

Dessert comes in the form of locally sourced ice cream, but you really don’t need an elaborate sweet confection when a simple serving of ice cream brings the meal to a perfect close.    

Franky Bradley’s is known for being a feast for the eyes and ears most of the time, but don’t let that distract you from the wonderful feast for your appetite the kitchen has to offer.