Downtown’s Not-So-Secret Spot: Franklin Ave Cocktails and Kitchen
231 S Edison Street, SLC
Mon–Sun 11 a.m.–1 a.m.
Once a secret speakeasy above the Franklin Avenue Variety Theater, Franklin Ave Cocktails and Kitchen honors their namesake, from menu to ambiance. Jazzy music and convivial conversation fill the first floor to the brim, spilling into the dimly lit basement dining room. Artwork of various concepts and styles covers every available space and the overstuffed booths, combined with retro lighting fixtures, tell of a different time and place, where complex cocktails were perfected before served and meals were about quality not quantity.
My date and I made a reservation earlier in the week and nearly missed the opportunity to dine, as their Friday evening was almost booked solid several days in advance. We were squeezed in, and I’m glad to say that the hype was well earned. Seated in the intimate setting of the basement room, we started our evening with cocktails and appetizers: for her, the spicy This is Fine ($16.00) with Wahaka Mezcal, Ancho Verde, passion fruit, lime, agave, and fire tincture; for me, a delightful blend of Haku vodka, Beehive Jackrabbit gin, Cocchi Americano, hopped grapefruit bitters and orange swath called the Vesper Americano ($14.00).
“More dressy than casual, Franklin is a great spot to go for just drinks, dining or both.”
Our waiter, Quincy Millward aka “Q,” was more than happy to steward us through the menu describing the items we did not know. I had my eyes on the Steak Tartare ($18.00) but was outvoted. In its place, we ordered the Mushroom Beignets ($14.00) and the Brussels Sprouts ($14.00). The beignets were fluffy and fried to perfection. The addition of Intermountain’s mushrooms and drizzle of green goddess dressing turned the typically sweet dish into a mouth-watering, savory one. With what is now hands down my favorite brussels sprouts dish in all of Salt Lake, Franklin’s take on the ever-popular dish came with chopped Medjool dates, crispy chunks of bacon, Marcona almonds, Calabrian chiles and a Meyer lemon aioli.
Before we received our main courses, we ordered a pint of Bohemian Noble Hefeweizen ($7.00) and a Mexican-style lager, Melvin Heyzeus ($7.00), based on Q’s recommendations. The Heyzeus paired perfectly with my Wagyu Steak Sandwich ($18.00), which was served on lightly toasted bread with au poivre, Taleggio cheese, Calabrian chiles, bacon-date jam and fresh watercress. The jam and peppery au poivre balanced well against the gently melted soft cheese and Wagyu, while the chiles provided a not-too-spicy pop of flavor.
“Jazzy music and convivial conversation fill the first floor to the brim, spilling into the dimly lit basement dining room.”
Based on the high praise and popularity, my date ordered the Roasted Chicken ($24.00). A generous portion of crispy, bone-in chicken flavored with Za’atar seasoning rested on top of potatoes and grilled broccolini with diced cucumber, whipped feta cheese and a drizzle of chermoula, a chimichurri-esque relish. Finally, we ordered the Peach Melba Panna Cotta ($10.00) for the perfect end to a perfect meal. The compressed peaches and fresh berries added a tartness to the mellow vanilla panna cotta. Topped with a Meyer lemon cookie, this was a light, very satisfying dessert.
More dressy than casual, Franklin is a great spot to go for just drinks, dining or both. Located at the southeast corner of Edison Avenue, it is easily accessible for anyone in Downtown SLC. I, for one, appreciate their extended daily hours and will keep them in mind when I have a late night craving for their sprouts or Kimchi Pickles ($5.00). Franklin Ave Cocktails and Kitchen is available for private events and has a VIP rewards program which is recommended to stay updated on exclusive events, secret menus and special offers/discounts. Visit their website for more information, to read the extensive reviews or to make a reservation. Support this local gem and make sure to follow them on Instagram @franklinaveslc.
For more SLUG food reviews:
Tommy Nguyen & The Pearl: The Best of Growing Up
Redmond Farm Kitchen: Bringing The Country to the City