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SAVOR Francois Frankie's jazz brunch
DISH Dining Guide
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-12-23

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Sometimes, a spot's success can depend on something as simple as location.

Francois Frankie ( 222 W. Randolph St.; FrancoisFrankie.com ), even though it's in the Loop, is probably just a shade too many steps away from the theater district or from Michigan Avenue to draw tourists on weekends and holidays.

This is a shame, because this spot has one of the best brunches I've had this year. ( Brunch is currently only on Saturdays, as the place is closed on Sundays. )

Besides the food, there are some intriguing touches—including the centerpiece carousel bar. Francois Frankie is only one of two restaurants in the country with such a conversation-starter; this one takes 66 minutes to make a complete revolution. ( I joked that I wish it could go faster, but city ordinances ban that from happening. ) Also, the bar features art with fictional character Francois Frankie, courtesy of Brittany Steiner.

Even the gender-neutral restrooms have a twist, with the letters "WC" ( water closet, a British term ) on them. Why use a British term when the restaurant has a French-American vibe? Who knows—but I quibble.

The food is, in a word, heavenly. The avocado toast ( with poached eggs ) was a bit light on the vegetable, but was delicious and the corned-beef hash ( with fried eggs and hollandaise ) could make Scrooge smile. My personal favorite was the challah French toast ( with crispy crust ), served with strawberries and whipped cream; I'll definitely be getting that again soon.

Other items are enticing as well. A stack of large buttermilk pancakes was like the warmth of an old friend, while the oatmeal brulee ( with, yes, a crispy top ) was sinfully good. Ditto for the pastrami Reuben.

However, other dishes warrant a return visit. For example, I didn't try the roasted vegetable shakshuka ( baked farm eggs, roasted local vegetables, gruyere cheese and tomato sofrito, with grilled sourdough ), but I'm not likely to pass on it twice. There are also other offerings such as Belgian waffles, the steak sandwich a la Frankie and many more.

By the way, yes, the jazz music is pretty cool. Roy McGrath and Company as well as other acts are slated to perform each Saturday, so go there to hear some vibrant tunes—and have some amazing food. Francois Frankie is certainly worth walking a couple extra blocks in the Loop.

Note: Profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.


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