Frannie and The Fox has redefined the concept of Italian casual fine dining – focusing instead on regional sourcing, daily trips to the market and a space where every guest can feel at home.
The Frannie And The Fox Italian Concept
Located adjacent to the newly opened hotel Emeline, Frannie and The Fox was conceptualized on two key observations. The first, that there were not many casual fine dining spaces in downtown Charleston.
“We really wanted to focus on a three meal a day experience delivered with the spirit of ‘foodies’ in mind, but never pretentious,” says Brad Harvey, General Manager of Emeline. “Think clever, comfortable and cool, where ‘Charleston Casual’ attire is perfectly okay, as we want guests to feel at home.”
Second, the management team felt that Italian concepts were under-represented in downtown Charleston. Therefore, they looked to introduce Italian sensibilities through a focus on regional fare.
The Frannie and The Fox menu features a rotation of dishes and ingredients distinctive to the Lowcountry, all sourced from local farms, purveyors and vendors. Their focus on regional sourcing has paved the way for a property-wide sustainability program, with a ‘no waste’ attitude shared between the kitchen and the bar.
“Working with local farms and small producers gives us the ability to order daily, and thus allows for a curated experience for our guests,” says Harvey
It’s an experience that is felt in every detail of Frannie and The Fox as well as Emeline.
Who Are Emeline, Frannie and The Fox?
Walking into Emeline is like stepping into a world within your own. Every detail – from the rich color scheme to the plush couches, books, records players and beyond – tells the story of two well-read and very well-traveled protagonists. You would never guess that Church Street is just beyond their doors.
“The inspiration of creating fictional characters for the restaurant and hotel came from a team of creative minds,” says Harvey.
Frannie and Emeline are more than characters. They’ve become real to the team, as their spirits are woven throughout the restaurant and hotel.
World travelers, sworn sisters, consummate hosts and Southern traditional – with more than a hint of mischief. Emeline is the consummate hostess who can drink you under the table. While she has an underlying mischievous side, her kid sister Frannie has more.
The Fox is Frannie’s alter ego. Experience the mischief that Frannie and the Fox have woven into the restaurant through their nightly offerings, the fox hole, and a few other surprise experiences.
It starts with an 8pm toast of their house made limoncello to everyone sitting at the bar and lounge. If you think you’ve had good limoncello before – just wait. Their no waste efforts have encouraged a creative use of ingredients that enhances every drink and dish on their menu.
Though mischievous, Frannie and The Fox are always looking for new ways to introduce sustainability. Where most restaurants would cut and juice a lemon, tossing the rest aside, Frannie and The Fox saw an opportunity. As part of their sustainability program, each lemon is actually peeled then juiced to create as little waste as possible. The zests are used as the base of their house-made limoncello, which is later enhanced with simple syrups and a cut of Soju, resulting in a smooth, refreshing product.
The introduction of Soju is just one of the many surprises around the premises that showcase the collections of world travelers.
Designed with a nomadic spirit, both the restaurant and hotel encourage guests to explore the area around them. Hotel guests can rent a Mini Cooper for up to 5 hours and explore the surrounding islands. Prefer to explore downtown? Stop in at the front desk and ask about their bicycles. The team will happily give you a map with the best routes.
At night, embrace the mystery that the coastal air offers and drop by the Foxhole where you can grab a quick drink in private. Just ring the bell and a bartender will raise the wooden latch to take your order. Enjoy your drink, then head out and let the city welcome you.
What To Expect Upon Arrival At Frannie and The Fox
Ever the consummate host, the entrance to Frannie and The Fox is located within Emeline. Skip the search for parking and allow the valet team to take care of you. Valet parking is available right outside the front doors of the hotel for a reasonable and well spent $5. Not only do they take excellent care of your car, they also know how to drive standard.
Take a moment to explore the lobby. Plush couches surround a large coffee table with an artfully arranged collection of books. The Keep Shop features a variety of goods from local and regional artisans – some of which you’ll find in each room of the hotel as Emeline shares her treasures with you.
When you’re ready, someone from the front desk or valet will be there to answer any questions and lead you to the restaurant. If you haven’t given the valet your keys yet, a member of their team will kindly greet you at your table and provide you with a claim check.
So, What Would Frannie Order?
If you’re looking for the drink of Italy, the Garibaldi is it. Silky and smooth, Campari and blood orange infused gin are artfully balanced with the sweetness of whipped orange juice made daily from fresh oranges. Frannie also keeps a Negroni on draft.
An alchemist of flavors, Frannie hardly stops there. Depending on the week the Negroni may be slightly different, featuring Mezcal or other flavors favored by Frannie and The Fox.
Post dinner, you’ll definitely want to try the espresso martini. Quiet notes of chicory mix with Italian amaro, a shot of espresso and frothed coconut water. It may actually be the best in Charleston, which is truly saying something given the city’s love affair with espresso martinis.
Dinner With Frannie And Emeline
The beauty of a regionally sourced menu is getting to try Chef Tim Morton’s latest creations each season.
Late summer you might find blue crab fritters on the menu. A surprising sweet citrus note makes each bite a treat. It’s the perfect starter to share.
Frannie’s Local Fruit Salad is not to be missed. In mid-September you might find cucumbers and Asian pears mixed with pureed sunflower and pesto, topped with popped sorghum. It’s a dish that makes you feel as though you’ve spent a breezy day in your nonna’s garden planning an effortless lunch.
If it’s wood fired pizza you’re craving, the Taleggio pie is a crowd favorite. Fresh parmesan and mozzarella blend together, topped with pools of liquid burnt honey and black pepper.
Pair your pie with a glass of wine instead of the typical beer. Siobhán Sindoni, Wine Director and Consultant, knows just the right one. “What grows together goes together,” she explains, suggesting a bright and earthy Sancerre that pairs perfectly with rich cheeses. Each sip cleanses your palette, making every bite something to look forward to.
Finally, treat yourself to an artfully balanced dessert like the Meyer Lemon Curd Tart. Topped with Mascarpone and Huckleberry sauce, it’s a mixture of flavors and textures that satisfy all cravings.
Thoughtful and creative pairings like these are what makes each menu item stand out, but it wouldn’t be Frannie and The Fox without an added touch of playful mischief. As you order, you may get a glimpse into Frannie’s collection of fox plates. Mixed in with the regular dishware, each plate has its own style. You never know which you’ll get.