While Franco-American relations have been going downhill since November 20, 1975—the day Franco died—American relations with France have never been better. Celebrate this period of amite, egalite, and fraternite with today's Groupon: for $18, you get $40 worth of authentic French cuisine and drinks at Franco in historic Soulard. Established in 2007, the Riverfront Times awarded Franco the honors of Best New Restaurant and Best French Fries in its first year.
Franco’s skillful use of fresh, local veggies and meats provides pleasurable options at every leg of its Tour de Menu. An order of French french fries—traditionally known as pommes frites ($5)—can ease the antici… pation of waiting for your entree, as can a French margarita ($8) or a Tommy Wallbanger ($8) comprised of Grey Goose, Galliano, and Cointreau. As for said entrees, land lovers will dig the classic grilled bistro steak ($23) or the multifaceted cassoulet ($23), a white-bean stew combining the distinct flavors of pork and duck, while seafarers can stay aquatic with Franco’s seafood stew ($21), which combines shrimp, mussels, clams, squid, and scallops. Those who love the land and its plants, meanwhile, will want to sample the zucchini and yellow-squash pasta ($18).
No matter what you pick, your choice will feel sophisticated as you dine surrounded by exposed red brick, elegant lighting, and paintings that do not, repeat, DO NOT, come alive at night. The space has the feel of an artist’s loft, although amateur art critics agree that the finest work hanging on the wall is Franco's massive quantity of delicious red and white wine. You may use one Groupon per table, so bring along some fellow French foreign legionnaires and celebrate Bastille Day early.
- The utterly beautiful dining room has a cosmopolitan sparkle… Franco is a bracing reminder of what makes dining out so enjoyable to begin with: It's a celebration of good food, good wine and good company. – Riverfront Times
- Franco would still be a recommended destination if its menu were limited to its delectable, first-rate cassoulet. It’s rendered in a sort of Castelnaudary style (although we didn’t detect any tomatoes, a signature of that version), with pork and sausages and white beans cooked excruciatingly slowly in the fat of the meat to yield a hearty, mouthwatering stew. – Dave Lowry, St. Louis Magazine
- The place is gorgeous and the food and service matched. Excellent Mussels and fries, aromatic and flavorfull without being to [sic] rich or overwhelming. the sweetbreads are outta sight. House baked bread was a nice touch and shows they care to do it right. – Trotters, Urbanspoon
The Soulard building has come a long way since its days as a turn-of-the-century shoe factory. Its newest tenants, however, still pay homage to their space’s industrial origins, keeping the original concrete pillars and exposed brick walls in Franco's dining room. That isn't to say the owners scoff at modernity—they've updated the charmingly rustic environs with sleek, undulating light fixtures. This balance between past and future extends to the cuisine, which has been lauded by St. Louis Magazine as a “minor masterpiece.” Chefs spotlight classic French meats and cheeses and infuse them with Midwestern flourishes such as molasses-bourbon gastrique sauce. Additionally, servers happily recommend wine pairings or the best wine bottles for trapping genies, a feat that earned Franco’s staff the Best Service in a Restaurant award from Riverfront Times.