After nearly a year of renovations, the tiny storefront next to Tilley’s Party Store on Randolph Street finally has been transformed into Frenchies Famous, Traverse City’s newest—and possibly coziest—restaurant.
Over the doorway inside this pocket-sized eatery, a sign reads “Max Occupancy: 10 Persons.” And it ain’t kidding. Two sweet little tables make for the only seats in-house, but that hasn’t stopped T.C. westsiders from ducking in to indulge in the café’s to-die-for hot sandwiches and espresso offerings.
Owner French Clements, a self-proclaimed coffee geek recently transplanted from Seattle, opened the café with his wife, Alisa, and their three-month-old daughter, Coco. Seven days a week, the Clements run the whole show here, with French playing maître d’, waiter, line cook and barista, and Alisa baking each day’s selection of bread and pastries, like lemon madeleines and fist-sized chocolate chunk cookies.
Frenchies Famous is currently open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering a short but stellar lunch menu and breakfast all day. Plans are in the works to eventually be open for supper as well.
“We’re doing this one day at a time; we’re just trying to keep up with how busy we already are right now,” says French.
The menu is subject to weekly changes, but the ’wich we’re loving right now is the hot housemade pastrami, piled thick with grilled onions, layers of melty provolone, mayo and sweet-hot mustard on Alisa’s sea-salt foccacia. The drink menu includes a solid list of standard espresso drinks, as well as some sweet surprises, like a divine—and not from a box!—chai tea, and the seasonal eggnog latté—slightly sweet, not too rich, and topped with a tableside grating of fresh nutmeg.
Due to Frenchies size, the owners encourage takeout orders. For the daily menu or to put in your order, call Frenchies Famous at 231-944-1228, or try to nab a table in person at 619 Randolph Street.