In Les Misérables II: Final Justice, Jean Valjean is arrested for committing an even greater crime against French law: applying margarine to another man’s mustache during dinner without asking first. Feast around the proper tableside etiquette of France with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of French fare and drinks at Franco. Franco, winner of the Riverfront Times award for Best Service in a Restaurant - 2010, fuses continental French cuisine with contemporary culinary flair in meals culled from local produce and meats. Executive chef Chris Williams peppers the dinner menu with simple, elegant fare, including such starters as pommes frites—thinly cut fried potatoes served with mayonnaise ($5)—and escargot baked in-shell with garlic-herb butter and liquefied joie de vivre ($9). The cassoulet stews a spicy house sausage with pork belly, duck confit, and great northern white beans ($21), and mussels join a mound of pommes frites after bathing in a savory cider broth ($18). Sharpen steak knives for the rib eye, locally raised in Illinois and plated with a red-wine cabbage, bordelaise sauce, and pommes frites ($26). Franco pours a drink menu of champagne cocktails ($7), draft microbrewed beers ($5), and red and white wine by the bottle ($28+) and by the glass ($7–$12), allowing any diner to become a Francophone in just a few sips.
From old wooden wine shelving that doubles as a room divider, to sleek, undulating light fixtures, Franco's ambiance exudes a blend of the vintage and the modern. The restaurant sits in a renovated factory space that was originally built in 1899 to manufacture shoes that were endorsed by the days' celebrity athletes and celebrity horses.
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.
1535 S 8th St.
St. Louis, Missouri 63104Get Directions