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The warm, relaxing atmosphere inside Francie’s Bar and Grill creates a vibe that makes customers want to settle in for a few hours, order another drink, and maybe even an extra appetizer. The friendly and knowledgeable staff makes the southside staple even more enjoyable and makes it easy to understand why people have come back to Francie’s time and time again during the bar’s nearly four decades of service. Add in awards ranging from Best Southside Bar from CITYVIEW to Best Burger from Restaurant Guru, and Francie’s is a must-visit regardless of which side of town you call home.

The drink menu offers some pleasant surprises. For a bar and grill, Francie’s has a solid wine selection. White, red, rose and sparkling are available by the glass or bottle. Not to fear, beer drinkers, Francie’s has you covered. The rotating tap brings in plenty of options from light to dark brews. Exile Ruthie and Confluence Des Moines IPA are local staples ready to be poured for your enjoyment. Their selection of mules offer boozier yet still tasteful options.

The real test of any good bar and grill is the food, and Francie’s does not disappoint.

I overheard from a nearby table, “What’s the most popular thing here?” The waitress responded, “We’ve been open for 37 years; everything is popular.”

The menu, which is contained to one two-sided page, consists of classic American-style bar food fare. The list of starters is short yet simple. Bone-in or boneless buffalo wings run $14. The garlic focaccia bread is an easy improvement on a classic dish and perfect to share with others for $11.

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They’ve been voted best burger in previous years, and for good reason. Pictured is their bacon cheddar burger, a no-nonsense cheeseburger with two strips of bacon and cheddar cheese on top of a half-pound angus beef patty, packed full of flavor. The meal is $15.50 and comes with a side of either crinkle cut fries, coleslaw, cottage cheese or pasta salad. Francie’s shows some creativity with the burgers. The queso burger is topped with melted cheese, served open-face on rye bread; the mushroom and Swiss describes itself; and they even offer an impossible burger for the meat-adverse. 

The list of sandwiches is longer and just as tasty, all priced between $15-16. Order a Philly chicken sandwich the normal way, or get it with their buffalo sauce to spice it up. The French dip is incredibly tender and practically begging to be dipped in the accompanying au-jus. Their house-made Italian sausage makes for a dynamite sandwich with roasted peppers, provolone cheese and marinara sauce on their focaccia bread. 

Friendly. Relaxing. Satisfying. Make the trip to Francie’s. ♦

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Summer Stir - June 2024