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Inside the Loop’s New French Restaurant With a Rotating ‘Carousel Bar’

Francois Frankie staff hope to transport diners to a Parisian courtyard wonderland when it opens on Saturday

A carrousel bar
Francois Frankie opens tomorrow in the Loop with this “carousel bar.”
Sandy Noto

The Loop’s new French restaurant from the group behind downtown spots Cochon Volant Brasserie and Taureaux Tavern opens this weekend, featuring classic French fare and a custom-made rotating ‘carousel bar.’ Francois Frankie, the third French restaurant from Well Done Hospitality, opens tomorrow at 222 W. Randolph Street. The restaurant is a collaboration with developer John Buck.

The central focus of the 6,500 square-foot space designed by local group 555 International is undoubtedly the revolving bar, decorated with mirrors, lights, and an illustration of “Francois Frankie,” a whimsical character equipped with a bottle of champagne. Representatives describe the bar as “inspired” by the bar inside New Orleans’ famous Hotel Monteleone, which debuted in 1949.

Around 20 customers can fit around the circular bar, and the whole space seats 121. Designers hope to create a Parisian courtyard effect with string lights and dark bentwood chairs, in addition to plush yellow and blue low and high-top seats in the bar area. The space features custom ombre murals featuring grays, blues, and browns, and subtle jewel tones appear throughout the restaurant.

A finalized menu from chef Mike Sheerin (Taureaux Tavern, Blackbird, Rockit Bar and Grill) is not yet available, but representatives offer some clues to what diners can expect. In keeping with Well Done Hospitality’s other French restaurants, the menu will feature familiar French classics like escargot a la bourguignonne and foie gras torchon, as well as updated dishes like “Frankie’s pastrami” and black truffle macaroni gratinée. A complete drink menu isn’t released yet either, but given the prominence of the rotating bar, it seems safe to assume that Francois Frankie will offer plenty of wine, beer, and cocktails.

The John Buck Co. first announced its intention to develop the location in 2010, and owners applied for a liquor license in late March. Representatives first shared a rendering of the bar with the public in May, and reservations are now available on OpenTable. Francois Frankie is the sixth restaurant from Well Done Hospitality, which also operates Dough Bros, Mixed Greens, Cochon Volant Brasserie, and Taureaux Tavern.

Explore the space in the photographs below.

Francois Frankie, 222 W. Randolph Street, open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

String lights overhead are meant to evoke a French courtyard.
The space includes a small lounge area that’s separated from the dining room by brushed metal rails.
Francois Frankie seats 121.
The space features custom ombre murals and subtle jewel tones.
Seating options include bentwood perches, leather banquettes, and comfy-looking burnt orange chairs.
Crispy calamari

Francois Frankie

222 West Randolph Street, , IL 60606 (312) 600-9659 Visit Website

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