Chef Adam Hegsted opening French restaurant Francaise in former Casper Fry space
April 21, 2022 Updated Fri., April 22, 2022 at 6:46 a.m.
The recent closure of Casper Fry may have left some wondering what would become of the former restaurant space in the South Perry District.
Chef and restaurateur Adam Hegsted confirmed Tuesday he has purchased the former Casper Fry eatery and is opening Francaise, a French-style neighborhood bistro, in the more than 2,150-square-foot space at 928 S. Perry St.
“We really loved the Casper Fry space and are sad to see it go,” Hegsted said. “It was one of our favorite places … but we are excited about having a restaurant in that space. We love the neighborhood and community.”
Hegsted operates Le Catering and several restaurants under Eat Good Group, including the Gilded Unicorn, Baba, the Yards Bruncheon and Incrediburger & Eggs.
Hegsted was inspired to open Francaise after visiting France and dining at its neighborhood cafes and bistros, he said.
Francaise will serve classic French fare with a modern, approachable twist, he said. It will offer a tasting menu, dinner and weekend brunch with sweet and savory selections.
A few of the restaurant’s potential menu items include: steamed mussels; deviled eggs with crème fraiche, caviar, chives and blini; Parisian-style gnocchi baked with truffle cheese sauce and sautéed mushrooms; and duck hindquarters cooked with orange sauce, zest and finished with Grand Marnier.
“We will have a vast selection of oysters with a beautiful presentation, and will have a wide range of charcuterie,” Hegsted said.
Another menu highlight is the Monte Cristo Français made with custard-battered brioche bread layered with sautéed duck liver, Dijon mustard and gruyere cheese, and finished with duck powdered sugar and raspberry jam.
Francaise will also serve French-inspired desserts, cocktails and wine, Hegsted added.
Ben Poffenroth, his mother Deb Green and sister Megan VanStone, announced the sale and closure of Casper Fry in early April after operating the Southern-inspired restaurant for a decade. Casper Fry’s last day of operation was Saturday.
Hegsted, who officially took over ownership of the former Casper Fry eatery this week, said he isn’t planning any significant changes to the restaurant’s interior.
“We are not going to change that much,” he said. “We will have some different artwork up and probably a different mural. (The previous owners) did such a great job with it. The furniture they have in there is unique, and we’ll keep a lot of it.”
Francaise is slated to open in mid-May, according to Hegsted, who said he’s excited to introduce the French-style restaurant to the South Perry District.
“(Neighborhood residents) are the ones that build the favorites and ambiance of the place,” he said. “We decide the vision and direction of each restaurant, and the employees and community dictate what it turns into and where it progresses. It’s really a neat process.”
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