More than 20 years ago, a chef and a bartender had an idea to open a neighborhood restaurant & bar that would reflect the city’s growing cosmopolitan sensibilities. The bartender, Maureen McLaughlin, was one of Boston’s most beloved and well-known, and the chef, David DuBois, was a classically-trained haute cuisine chef who had worked in kitchens around the world.
In December 1996, Maureen and David opened the Franklin Café in the South End of Boston. The restaurant’s unique ability to combine some of the city’s best modern American cuisine, a great wine list, and ten micro-brews on tap with a lively eclectic bar scene made it an instant favorite. With a full menu served seven days a week until 1:30 a.m., Franklin Café also became the late-night place to unwind for staff of Boston’s best restaurants. After opening its doors, the Franklin was recognized by the New York Times, Gourmet magazine, the London Sunday Telegraph and more as one of the best restaurants in Boston. The Franklin has been named Best of Boston by Boston magazine nine times since 1998.
In 2000, the Franklin Restaurant Group expanded to the North Shore with the opening of Franklin Cape Ann in Gloucester. Shortly after its opening, Franklin Cape Ann was honored with a 2001 Boston magazine Best of Boston award for “Best New Restaurant North.” The Franklin Cape Ann has continued on a path of excellence, winning the same award from Boston magazine again in 2005 and 2008.
With new concepts on the horizon, the Franklin Restaurant Group team expanded in 2008 to include CFO Phil Audino and Executive Chef Brian Reyelt, both of whom had been with FRG for several years. The new team of four grew their talent and strengthened their commitment to serving great food in a neighborhood atmosphere.
In 2010, the Franklin Group launched two new concepts across the street from each other, behind historic Fenway Park — Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar and Tasty Burger.
Born of the American Tavern movement, Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar elevates the tavern concept, while still presenting a reasonable price point. The modern tavern menu is buffeted by a local raw bar and a daily changing chalkboard full of selections made from the freshest local ingredients. The bar program is one of the top in the city of Boston, with award-winning craft cocktails, 200 rare and traditional whiskies (including 10 single-barrel whiskeys distilled exclusively for Citizen), top Napa wines by the bottle and on tap, and 12 draft micro-brews served English style, by the pint or half pint. Since opening, Citizen has become a Fenway neighborhood fixture.
It is every chef’s fantasy to open a burger joint and that is what Tasty Burger is — a chef’s interpretation of fast food. The menu is crafted using the most thoughtfully selected, carefully prepared fresh ingredients available, at a fast food price and at fast food speed. Tasty is a standard in Boston (and beyond), and just plain fun!
Nearly 20 years after David and Maureen opened the first Franklin in 1996, the Franklin Restaurant Group’s establishments have become synonymous with consistency, quality, value, and a great time. Along with Brian and Phil, David and Maureen relish the local, national, and international attention the establishments have garnered. But to these four area natives, the most important thing is for the Franklin Restaurant Group’s concepts to become a healthy and productive part of the fabric of their respective communities. And so, it is an exciting time for the Group to be expanding existing and new concepts beyond Boston.