Despite an unadvertised, “soft” opening, more than 70 people came out to Francesca’s Wine Bar and Bistro in Collinsville Friday night.
“We like it,” said Penny Royer of Avon who came with friend Kate Sutton after they happened to drive by. “It’s very cozy.”
Francesca and Don Nadeau, along with son Jonathan, have opened the restaurant at 105 Main St. after working much of the summer to convert the space to their needs.
Friday night, the family was thrilled to open its doors but felt the restaurant was still a work in progress. A few pictures had yet to be hung and the rack to showcase their 50-wine collection had yet to be installed.
For 10 years, the Nadeaus were part owners of Martino’s, an Italian Market and Deli and Bistro in Bristol. They have previously worked with many of the restaurant staff.
But even with restaurant veterans there will always be a few glitches as everyone learns the menu and the layout of a new space, the Nadeaus said.
“It’s always a lot of work and certainly a lot in the details,” Francesca Nadeau said.
There are certainly many details the restaurant has worked hard to perfect.
The deep, striking colors of the restaurant came from an unlikely source. In 1971, Francesca’s late father honored his wife’s heritage and purchased two Spanish-themed matador paintings in Atlantic City for the couple’s anniversary.
Francesca and her siblings never liked the paintings but after struggling with color themes for the restaurant she remembered them and one now hangs on the walls.
The color theme closely mirrors the painting and even the surface and trim on the bar were carefully planned to fit in.
Don Nadeau was pleased with the response Friday and with the support the restaurant has already received. owners even brought over some flowers for the evening.
With a community that been so welcoming, Don Nadeau said it will be a pleasure to work in Collinsville and reflect some of the community’s suggestions in the menu and daily operations.
"Whatever our neighbors want — we're really going to try and accommodate that," he said.
While the menu will change a little over time, Francesca’s currently offers soups, rosemary foccacio sandwiches, salads, antipasti “bigger bites," such as meatball sliders and lobster mac and cheese and desserts. Items range from $5 to $15. The menu will change and grow over time, Don Nadeau said, partially based on customer input.
Those Patch interviewed had positive reviews on the food.
Wine and beer are currently offered as well.
Initially the restaurant plans to open 11:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday, 11:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. While the kitchen will close at 10 p.m. on weekends, the bar itself may stay open a little later.