Francie’s Grillin’ Brings an English Twist to Fair Haven

by Cole Arthur | Jan 16, 2017 11:54 am

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Posted to: Arts & Culture, Dining, Business/ Economic Development, Fair Haven

Francie’s Grillin’ is a laid back, modern gastro pub that’s very nice looking and very good.

It’s hard to believe that the construction scaffolding surrounding it that showed such promise two months ago is gone now.

In fact, many of the table tops are now clean and ready for dinner service. A nearby parking lot is filled with customers.

The front of the house decor is sparsely done, a shabby-chic setting for waiters to greet patrons. On the opposite wall hang a series of two-by-fours made to resemble an altar, where customers’ photographs can be stuck onto toothed facades.

The bistro open so far in 2019, according to co-owner Kenneth Demers, is just a month old, but its reputation has started to multiply fast.

Francie’s still needs some work on the front — the menu details need a little revision — but the ramen alone has already proven to be one of the city’s tastiest. The black, Japanese noodles and broth have already earned multiple rave reviews. Francisi himself has echoed the enthusiasm for the amazing noodles on social media.

He explained that he and his business partner put a lot of thought into finding the location, the city in general, and the neighborhood in which it’s located. They haven’t found exactly the neighborhood they were looking for, “but we found an area that really translates well to a dinner restaurant,” Demers said.

Demers worked as a private chef while working for Yale University, so he understands the demands of high-end dining for work families. It’s something that is not a part of Fair Haven’s backyard or neighborhood, but it is certainly not the first thought when someone, who may live here, decides to eat out. So the roommates that this part-time-for-college student came home to were hungry to try out the kind of restaurant he had been working at.

“We felt like we could bring a new kind of neighborhood restaurant to Fair Haven,” he said.

During its first few weeks, the two realized that just because Francie’s had the potential to really do what it was built to do, “doesn’t mean it is going to happen,” he said.

Demers and his business partner, Jen Wyman, recently moved their home and managed to reach Fair Haven just as construction started. They had actually been looking for space for a while before they found this one. Demers said that Fair Haven has some kind of energy and vibrancy that cities and local entrepreneurs don’t always realize and appreciate.

Fair Haven, he said, is an educated neighborhood and many of its residents have been, on occasion, a part of historical action, having been involved in protests. Both of their parents, Demers said, work in the local community.

Francie’s Grillin’ is one of those restaurants that seeks to unite those hard-working locals in an atmosphere full of music, food, and good times. Even Fair Haven’s meatloaf is doing a series of stand-up gigs at monthly trivia nights, Demers said. He said that the intersection of Ainsworth and Cass avenues in Fair Haven, for example, is filled with private or foster homes, which could be an interesting audience demographic for Francie’s.

“For us, we like to blend pop-up venues and events and group dinners,” he said. “People are looking for a place where they can come, eat, drink, socialize, and it’s affordable.”

Francie’s opens Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. For more information, call (347) 586-8594.

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