Frances: Melissa Perello
Missing a birthday is a major faux pas, especially when it is your own. But in Melissa Perello's case, it was the perfect gift. "We were just too busy to celebrate," she says, reflecting on two successful years since opening Frances in 2009.
Tired of the fine dining scene, Perello left the Fifth Floor to pursue her own project that would pair impressive cooking skills with a casual setting. She longed for a spot with a residential feel, in an area that welcomed a diverse set of customers. And after a year and half of searching, she found the perfect corner nook, which she describes as "cute." As in cozy--an adjective that informed every choice from the decor to dinner entrees to the tables spaced just far enough apart for one to slide into a seat sideways. But even though space is tight, Perello managed to create an accessible atmosphere. With a friendly staff, open kitchen and those atypically spaced tables, Frances encourages social barriers to break down. Diners at the counter closely watch the chefs at work. Those seated on the floor freely eye each other's dishes, often sparking conversation between strangers. And quickly, whether by proximity or easygoing attitude, everybody is a neighbor, no matter the ZIP codes from which they hail.
Melissa's Neighborhood Picks: "We spend a lot of time at H Café," Perello says. "I get coffee there every day and we call Hasan, the owner, mayor of the street."
The Neighborhood Needs: Simply put: a revival. "The whole Market and Castro area could use more of a restaurant scene."
Hop ON MUNI: Bone marrow pizza draws Perello to Flour + Water, and the burger at NOPA draws her to the Divisadero drag. "Those are some of my favorite restaurants."
Frances: Melissa Perello, was published in the Fall 2011 issue of Edible San Francisco Magazine. © 2011 Edible San Francisco.
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This content was published in the Fall 2011 issue of Edible San Francisco Magazine. © 2011 Edible San Francisco.