Restaurant Review: Fran’s Pub (New Hope, PA)

This was the first dining experience I deemed so terrible that I would not even put the pics of what my friend and I ate on my food-based Instagram. I didn’t want anyone to know that in a town full of decent and exciting restaurants, we happened upon the resounding dud known as Fran’s Pub. If it was not for this blog, it would have stayed that way. But I write about food for a reason: to inform, to persuade, and to warn. It was a chilly night, but not so cold that we couldn’t sit outside. We sat next to one of their two bars, and were enjoying the atmosphere of sitting street-side in New Hope on a bustling Friday night. 

What would follow ranged from odd to just plain awful. Our server, if you can call him that, was so quick and jittery that I do not even recall ever seeing his face. He had a habit of walking away before we finished talking, before he finished talking, and checking on us while still in motion, never actually standing still. In a whiskey mood, I ordered a Jameson neat. It came in a shot glass. Not just a shot glass, but one of those glasses that is all glass about halfway up, with a tiny area for the liquid. It could not have been an ounce of booze. A newborn could have slung it back and not batted an eye. For $5.25, it was a ripoff. For $3.50 it would have been a ripoff. My friend had a Screwdriver, which could have been more adequately described as a glass—err, paper cup—of orange juice kissed by some vodka. Or maybe not kissed at all.

I looked past this as not being the end of the world. We ordered the pierogies as an appetizer, which were supposed to come cooked with fried onions and green peppers. Never seeing this combination before, we elected to go without the pepper (and because I simply hate green peppers). They were left off as asked, but they would have been better off leaving the entire dish in the kitchen. There are no words to adequately describe how bad they were. Obviously, they were Mrs. T’s or some off-shoot, thrown into a deep-fryer until as chew-able as shoe leather, and then tossed with onions which had been cooked separately. How else could they be dry as a bone if sautéed with onions in either butter or oil? I’ll leave you to judge the picture. They were so tough that I could not even cut them with a knife. When they finally were broken open with superhuman strength, the filling oozed out like Elmer’s glue. I ate one. Nick ate two.

Nick had been unsure of what he wanted as a meal, and wanted the appetizer first before ordering. This was unfortunate for the restaurant, as he felt the pierogies were so bad that he decided to not order a meal at all. As for me, I should have went along with him and asked for the check. But I am a glutton for punishment. I went with a sandwich stupidly and irrelevantly named “Tango and Jazz”. In fact, when I said that phrase to the waiter, he asked me to repeat it. Three times. He did not know what I was saying. By this point, I didn’t know what I was saying either. I held the menu up and pointed. “Oh! Tango and Jazz”, he said. This was described, according to the menu as, “grilled chicken, spinach, Portobella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and Provolone cheese on panini bread“.

The sandwich, while not looking too appetizing, was not horrible. The chicken was juicy and there were adequate amounts of veggies and cheese. But the bread (which is why I bolded the above) was not panini bread. It was white or sourdough that was grilled. You can advertise it as a “grilled sandwich” or “toasted”. That’s fine. But this is not a panini. Had it been one, the final score of this review might have been a dash higher. Instead, it served as the exclamation point to a horrendous experience, one capped off by a meal that could be described as “blah”. No pizzazz at all. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the time it took to cook this. It was out of the kitchen in less than 10 minutes. It felt like I just had the last “Tango and Jazz” utterance escape my mouth, and there it was. I don’t know how the chicken could even be cooked in that time span, much more a sandwich assembled. The chicken was done all the way through, so maybe they had grilled breasts pre-cooked and sitting under a light. I wouldn’t be surprised.

My friend wanted me to give Fran’s Pub a 1, but since the sandwich was edible (more than could be said for the pierogies), I will go slightly higher with a 1.5 out of 5 stars. The service, as expanded upon earlier, was a real head-scratcher. As for the food, it needs no additional summation. Some of New Hope’s dining establishments can be a little too posh and hoity toity. I was excited to try a place that purported to offer “regular” pub grub. Perhaps that is the only thing keeping them in business—that notion or assumption. I can think of little else. What a let-down.

Fran’s Pub is located at 116 South Main Street in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

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