Hank’s is Petaluma’s newest restaurant from the Lafranchi family

Hank was Eric Lafranchi’s baby brother. He died last year in a tragic motorcycle accident at the age of 30. To honor him, Eric, owner of Taps, and his sister Katie created Hank’s, a new eatery that held a successful soft opening this week.

Located at Rosso’s former spot in Theater Square, the wood-fired pizza oven and outdoor seating will certainly be a draw, as will the expanded beer menu, which is one of Eric’s specialties. Additionally, Taps chef Abraham Asay will help with Hank’s menu, which gives Hank’s a great step-up right out of the gate.

Chef Abe has been with Taps for 10 years and, along with great pub food, turns out weekly Thursday night specials worthy of white table cloth dining. From the looks of Hank’s sample menu, Chef Abe will be flexing his culinary muscles, taking full advantage of the new sit-down restaurant.

Appetizers will include meatballs and Aranchini risotto balls, both of which we enjoyed during the soft opening, along with roasted clams and an antipasto plate. Several salads will be available plus plenty of options for great wood-fired pizza, including a white-sauced clam, garlic, herbs and Calabrian chili pizza.

Entrees are set to span everything from a Mary’s chicken breast over polenta to scallops to short-ribs to Grandma Gina’s gnocchi. There is a kid’s menu with a couple of small pizzas and a garlic, cheese and butter pasta. Dessert includes Double 8 Dairy gelato. This buffalo milk gelato is not only as smooth as silk, but during a recent ranch tour of neighboring Ramini Mozzarella out west of Petaluma, we learned that folks with lactose intolerance often find buffalo milk to be no problem.

The walls at Hank’s are lined with Lafranchi family photos as well as a large chalkboard over the kitchen that maps the places from which Hank’s sources its products. Many Lafranchi relatives were in attendance and it was heartwarming to see them find relatives in the photos and reveling in the family’s newest addition.

The first night of the soft opening was standing room only, with appetizers passed by servers and beer and wine available on the back patio. On the second night, the tables were set so the staff could practice a full dinner service before the official opening the following night.

Chef Abe will surely continue to tweak the menu to diners’ preferences, and I am particularly excited to see what new creations he comes up with to fully utilize Hank’s amazing wood-fired pizza oven. The restaurant’s hours are limited as the business gets going, typically 4-8 p.m.

Hank’s is located at 151 Petaluma Blvd. S., suite 123.

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