Astronauts say they wish they had this restaurant's food in space

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Friday, April 17, 2020
Frenchie's: Clear Lake's astronaut-approved eatery
ABC13's Nick Natario and HTX+ find out why Frenchie's in Clear Lake is a popular eatery with NASA astronauts.

WEBSTER, Texas (KTRK) -- For customers, astronauts' images on the walls might be photos, but to the owner, they represent memories.

In 1979, Frenchie's Italian Cuisine opened in Clear Lake. The owner, Francesco Camera, followed his sister from Italy after she married a NASA engineer.

The restaurant is located near the Johnson Space Center. After it opened, it quickly became a hot spot to find astronauts.

"Everybody was very good to us," Camera said. "Very friendly, and so, we became just friends."

Those friends came with gifts. Over the past 40 years, Camera has hung many of the items on the restaurant's walls.

"Very many, they bring me a lot of memories," Camera said. Good memories."

One of those pieces is a signed moon photo from Apollo astronaut Alan Bean, who wrote how much he missed Frenchie's food in space.

"Frankie, this was a fun place, but the food wasn't as good as Frenchies," the message from Bean states.

The amount of memorabilia hasn't slowed down. Camera's problem now is he's running out of space.

But he's not sure how much longer he'll keep collecting items. Most of the items at the restaurant are from the space shuttle program.

With NASA looking to go back to the moon in five years, Camera hopes to collect even more. As for what he's going to do once he calls it quits in Clear Lake?

"I will never consider to sell it, never, because they're too dear to me," Camera explained.

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