Retro Rumson Cheers from Frank’s

Cheers to Friday, a Rumson icon and his iconic River Road spot!

That would be Tony Mellaci and his father’s bar, Frank’s. The door was always open at the place, welcoming Rumson friends for a cold one, a Mellaci sausage sandwich, a little camaraderie and good conversation among locals. The senior Mellaci, Frank, owned it and ran it with his son, Tony. The proprietors, they were.

On May 10, Tony would have been 102. He was a star athlete at RFH and known as an all-around great guy with a bright, welcoming smile and plenty of tales to tell about growing up Rumson-style.

Frank’s was the spot for much of that conversation, the father-son duo working side-by-side. The door was always open for a drop-in and a drink. And there was sustenance involved in the becoming of Rumson icons in an iconic spot — the famous Mellaci sausage sandwich. Mangia!

And area folks truly ate it all up — the atmosphere and all its perpetuators.

Hey, according to the below ad from a 1949 issue of the Daily Register, there was television and dancing, too, at the post-prohibition Frank’s.

The Mellaci family grew up on a Tyson Lane estate in Rumson, where the father, Frank, was a caretaker. “With the demise of prohibition, Tony’s father acquired one of the first liquor licenses in Rumson and in 1935 moved his family to 128 East River Road where he opened up Frank’s Bar” at 132, Tony’s obituary said. Frank’s moved to another Rumson location in 1948, the one in the ad, the Mellaci team running it until 1962.

Tony Mellaci passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 100, every year of his life pretty much spent in Rumson and very much connected to its people and places.

So, cheers to the weekend and a shot of great memories directly from 1949 at Frank’s!