How Frances the Restaurant Got Built

Just six months old, Frances, the charming restaurant located on the quiet edge of the Castro district, has already grown into one of San Francisco’s most talked-about chef-driven establishments and one of the hardest reservations to land.

The 45-seat restaurant was opened by Chef Melissa Perello, late of San Francisco’s Fifth Floor restaurant, who named it for her beloved late-grandmother.

It’s never easy to open a new restaurant in an economy this challenging, especially when your budget isn’t anything to brag about. Nor is it easy to turn out the food you want in a cramped kitchen that’s less than 500 square feet.

But Perello did it, with a lot of work and gumption, plus the help of a few investors; her father, who had his own construction company; and her mother, who sewed all the aprons for the waitstaff, as well as the pillows for the dining room.

The success of the restaurant so fast even surprised her. Frances has won accolades all around, including being named a finalist this year for “Best New Restaurant” in the nation by the James Beard Foundation.

Learn all about how Perello, rebounding from professional burnout, built her restaurant by reading my story in the June issue of Food Arts magazine. The glossy, chef-centric magazine is available at select newsstands or by subscription.

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Date: Monday, 14. June 2010 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants

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  1. 1

    What a great story. Even though I don’t live close enough to visit it’s fun to know that new restaurants are thriving even in a down economy. I love all the ingenius ways she maximized her budget. How lovely to have your mom do the sewing.

  2. 2

    It’s always great to hear that small/medium restaurants are doing well. It takes a lot of hard work.

  3. 3

    I love seeing new neighborhood places doing so well. Frances has been on my list to try for a while.

  4. 4

    I love that place, and can’t wait to plan my next visit. Sounds like I have to do more advance planning than usual.

  5. 5

    Wonderful to hear a success story like this. Much continued success to Chef Perello!

  6. 6

    Nice post…it is so nice to know that an independent restaurant is doing well :-) Very inspiring!

  7. 7

    Love these kind of stories. I’ll add this to the list of restaurants to try as I can now scratch off Luce – it was great for brunch!

  8. 8

    How wonderful to have such a quick success! I’ll have to look for a copy of Food Arts magazine.

  9. 9

    It’s so good to hear of someone becoming successful through perseverance and hard work! Awesome back story. Now I just need to get my butt over to SF and eat there…

  10. 10

    […] My Story on Chef Melissa Perello Share and […]

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