Francois isn't just a place for coffee and a croissant, it is a community lot that includes Fifi's Flower Shoppe, a book exchange called the Book Nook, and a Ballet Studio on the second floor.
The balloon guy? Oh yeah, him too. Rumor has it he's sweet on Frannie. Oui, oui!
More pictures under the button...
Frankie and Frannie (cousins) grew up in 'Jersey - But, their grandfather was the world renowned French pastry chef, Armande Gusteau - owner of the finest patisserie in all of Paris.
...Well, long story short - Grandpère Armande was very strict in his ways. The kids revolted and moved to America; New York, to be exact. His son and daughter opened a very successful Bistro/Deli in Manhattan, retired early then moved to Rumson, New Jersey. The brother and sister remain close and their kids (among them, Frankie and Frannie) have grown up together.
Several years ago Armande passed away, leaving everything to his wife, Margot - the only one who patiently stood by him, enduring his frequent tantrums Before marrying Armande, she had been an up-and-coming ballerina, dancing with the Ballet De L'Opera. Her long time dream was to open a studio of her own. Now in her late 70's, and feisty as ever, she packed up her fortune and moved to Rumson, NJ, to reunite with her long estranged family.
Frankie and Frannie immediately hit it off with their 'new' Grammama - the three of them do everything together! (BTW - she calls them by their given names: François and Francine, and they jump quick when she does!) Eagerly, they helped make her dream come true - and in doing so, started thriving businesses for themselves too.
It turns out, Frankie inherited his G'père's pastry skills - and, with his Mom's help, they opened François' Bistro & Cafe. It is located on the main floor of the old warehouse G'mere Margot purchased, and features a coffee bar and bakery for quick service, bistro style dining with seating inside and out, and a karaoke bar featuring some of the finest grape juice imported exclusively from France. Thursday "Late-Nights" are always a riot when the local theatre company takes over the mic after their rehearsals.
The above is an overview of the kitchen - note the "break" table and employee bathroom.
Frannie, a natural with plants, opened a sweet little flower shop in one of the corners - named after her faithful companion, Fifi (a French Poodle, of course)! Stop by anytime to purchase a pretty bouquet, pick up some fresh produce, or just chat - about plants.
Fifi, who is always with Frannie, has a sleeping pallet and doggy-dish by the outside register.
Mme Margot purchased this old warehouse because of it's beautiful hardwood floors upstairs - perfect for her studio. She restored them herself, had Frankie install the mirrors, and opened her Studio d'Ballet a month later. She teaches ballet to all ages, and also teaches adults yoga and tai chi. (Odd combo, I know; but a girl's gotta do what she can do!)
Other points of interest on the property include:
The chess table on the upstairs Bistro patio, free balloon rides up on the roof, a small rack of leotards, tutus, and yoga suits available for purchase in the studio, the exquisitely manicured gardens - maintained by Frannie, of course. And, the book nook - a great place to read, think, and confer with others while sipping a hot cuppa.
BTW: About the outhouse... Mme Margot was so excited to open her studio that she didn't want to wait for 'commercial' bathrooms to be installed. Her studio area already had 2 bathrooms - one male, and one female. And the downstairs has the employee bathroom - with a urinal and a toilet, and a small "powder room" by the hostess' podium. So, the quickest solution was a port-a-potty outside. Not the greatest, but it works; and so far none of the customers have complained.
This lot was the BEST!!! I had so much fun with it
I'm really glad I participated in this contest, I've learned a lot from both the judges and the other contestants. I'll definitely do another contest soon!
Good luck everyone!
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