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Need some Advice in Franklin Mass.

I am traveling to Franklin Ma. in August for business. I will be in town on a Monday and Tuesday night. I will be staying at the Hampton Inn at 735 Union St Franklin Ma 02038. I am very adventurous when it comes to food. My traveling companion unfortunately is a bit more cautious when it comes to some ethnic foods(mostly Sushi).

I was wondering if anybody could make any reccomendations for some great local food thats not too far away from our hotel.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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  1. Just up 495 at Exit 17 is Incontro and 3. Incontro is popular and often very busy. My experiences have only been okay. Food is okay. Service has often been terrible. I haven't been to 3 in more than a year and I haven't seen recent feedback. Both have more American fare. You can try Tom's Tavern in Wrentham for seafood and more casual environment. Joe's American is right next to the hotel, but I would try to say away from there. It is a local chain and nothing special.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Bluebird

      (I know this is late, but had to add:)
      We had reservations for 4 at 8pm. We got there at 7:50, and the parking lot was jammed. There is mandatory valet, and there were no more spaces, so the valet attendant told us to park at the 99 Restaurant across the street. We did and several other cars did as well.
      We went to check in, and were told we would be unable to check in until our full party was there. We told the hostess that we would have been all here, but were forced to park across the street. She said there was nothing she could do, and would not give us the pager (which would have allowed us to go upstairs and wait). We were seated after 8:00pm, even though we were all present beforehand. The hostess did not take notice until we asked her a third time. We were then seated at a center table, and asked to sit at a booth. There were four booths open. We were told that the booths were being saved for parties of 6-8. Within the next 30 minutes, all four booths were seated, and 3 had parties of 4.

      Halfway into dinner, our cell rings - the police had called our house to tell us they were towing our car (pretty nice for the police). My husband goes and moves the car, and tells the young hostess what happened. She responds with "that's not our problem." My husband asks to talk with the manager. Who tells us that they hire the valet service and what they say to us is not his problem. He then told us they never would have told us to park there. The manager gets loud and continues to accuse us of lying. We ask to talk to the valet attendant ourselves. Valet attendant is never produced. Manager goes missing. He comes back and tells us that the valet manager is coming in to talk to us. We wait. Nothing. Finally we decide to leave. (server was great and told us he was a jerk, and they can't get a good manager. He also wouldn’t get his hands off of her when speaking to us.
      As we go to leave, we talk to valet attendant. Turns out there is no valet manager there. He is working in Boston. We go back in to talk to the manager, and another guy comes in upset because his car was getting towed and he had to pay $100 to get it off the truck.

      Then the manager was nowhere to be found. A nice server asked if we wanted to talk with the owner. What? The owner was there the whole time? We (and the guy who lost $100) went to find him. He was hiding in the open kitchen - would not come out from behind the counter to talk and kept saying "whatever the manager told you I stand behind." $100-guy tries to go over the counter and get him. Owner comes out and repeats it over and over. Grabs the guy by the arm to get him out. Keeps saying its not his problem. Takes the name and number of 5 different people this happened to. We kept asking for what? And he wouldn't say. Kept saying "there’s nothing I can do for you." He then said to the manager, “Will you just say an apology to these people so we can all move on with our lives?” The manager said “I apologize,” and we realized then that there was no interest in treating us with dignity and respect so we left.

      We then went to 3-Restaurant to finish the night and although their kitchen was closed they were happy to offer us dessert and great service.

      1. re: leelove380

        Amazing in today's economy that any restaurant can get away for long with this type of customer service, and stay in business. I'm guessing that they were busy the night you went if parking was an issue, and sounds like they were undermanned, and maybe didn't have their "A" team working that night. I know things can spiral out of control in the restaurant business when you are undermanned. That's no excuse, but perhaps an explanation. Still, the worst part of the story was the arrogance of the manager and owner. I read some of the posts from 2 years ago and they allude to the hassle and inappropriateness of the valet parking, and some of the same nonsense you experienced. I can only assume that restaurant management and most of their customers do not read Chowhound or Yelp, because if they did parking would not have been a problem for you!

    2. I've had nothing but good experiences at Incontro, for both food and service (3 visits? 4?). If the weather's good, sit outside on the patio. I wouldn't call it American fare, it's decidely Italian.

      1. I will NEVER return to Incontro. The food was not bad, bordering on good, but you can't park your own car...not that I mind that, but they lost my keys and were terrible about taking care of the situation. It took more than an hour for someone to pay attention to the problem. I ended up leaving (had an extra key in my wallet). They found the keys later that evening and took almost a week to mail them back to me ( I live ~35 miles away.) No apologies, no service, actually they were almost rude. I was not the only one who's keys were lost either. Another, not very happy patron, was in the same boat.

        6 Replies
        1. re: BikeToEat

          I've never NOT parked my own car.....I just drove past the valet (silly to even have one there) and no one said a word. What you describe is downright nuts...bad enough they lost them but okay....mistakes happen. But once they were discovered they should have driven them to you immed, and hand-delivered them.

          I don't know if I've just gotten lucky, or if I'm rattling blindly along like Mr Magoo, but I've never had a service issue there.

          1. re: JaneRI

            Some nights they don't have valet, other nights, it is mandatory. We tried driving by once and they chased us through the parking lot to get our keys when we got out the car. Self parking was not allowed.

            I was there most recently 3 weeks ago on a Sunday night. The service was slow and we were sitting at a not very busy bar upstairs. Food was average really nothing special. What I ordered did not match the menu description. If it had been properly described, I never would have ordered this particular dish. It tasted okay, but really wasn't what I wanted or expected. My husband had the burger. It was good, but was served with a very tiny side cup of ketchup. Not enough for his burger and the fries. We had to flag down the unattentive bartender to get more ketchup. Not the worst experience, but we have had much better elsewhere. Service has been terrible at my other visits. Two examples, once, upstairs, it took 45 minutes to get my drink. There were several conversations with the server, several visits to the bar, I think my husband even had a conversation with the manager (we were told that another server kept stealing my drink, a vodka martini, and a replacement would be right up). Finally my drink was served (my dining companions got there drinks with no issues). No apologies, no nothing. The menus are different upstairs and downstairs. Once, when we were dining downstairs, my husband really wanted the burger that was on the upstairs menu (I was ordering from the downstairs menu) and they refused to serve it downstairs. My best experience was when they first opened. Each visit since has been disappointing. I really want to like this place and I still go back every 4 months or so, hoping that my experience this time will be different.

            1. re: Bluebird

              Valet parking at a suburban restaurant = ridiculous.

              That's too bad, and it's certainly not isolated as others have had complaints as well. Bad service does tend to be off and on, so I'm going to guess I've just gotten lucky....4 visits in probably 2 yrs isn't very often, random enough to miss the low points.

              1. re: JaneRI

                I have eaten there only twice and both times it was on a weekend and there was mandatory valet parking.

                I go to the occasional concert in the area and would really like to find a nice place to eat before hand. I'd be interested to hear some more recent opinions about Bluebird's other suggestions, Tom's and 3. An old post on 3 was very mixed, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/400412

                1. re: BikeToEat

                  Here is a link to a Tom's Tavern post http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474724 I went there once. The atmosphere was very casual and the food was really good. I need to go back.

                  I haven't been to 3 since my review in the post you reference. It was okay, just not good enough to keep me coming back. I did recently hear some good things about it from a couple of acquaintances but their chow tastes are unknown to me so I don't know if we have similar likes. I should probably stop in again sometime.

                  1. re: BikeToEat

                    I went to 3 and enjoyed it very much. I don't remember details but I remember really enjoying my meal and good service.

                    Incontro, awful service. Uppity and pretentious.

          2. Hi Frank,
            Nothing fancy, but in and around Franklin is some really good red-sauce Italian food. Your profile says you're from Tampa, and in my experience the Italian is better here than it is there, so might be a nice change while being still within your traveling companion's comfort zone.

            I would have a little adventure and head into Milford to Caffe Sorrento. It's at 143 Central Street. Won't win any decor awards, but the food is good and the crowd is always colorful.

            Also in Milford is Mango Thai which is pretty good. http://www.mangomilford.com/

            I would land on the side of recommending Incontro, but with some caveats. I've had very good luck with the appetizers there. The truffle parmesan fries with aioli are really yummy, as are some of the more creative quesedillas. If you go there, sit upstairs and eat a variety of apps, then play pool. They also make a decent Manhattan. I've found the main courses to be overpriced and not of great quality. And yes, the service is spotty.

            Enjoy yourself - hope you make the best of your stay in Franklin!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Eatin in Woostah

              Franklin Flatbread/Spruce Pond Creamery is right near your hotel. They have unusual pizzas, a lot of organic ingredients, and homemade ice cream. It's casual and pleasant, with a large porch if you wish to eat outside (only soft drinks). Would certainly be a good lunch choice.

              1. re: AnnieP

                The food at Spruce Pond Cr is really good but the service is jaw-droppingly bad. Never rude....but sooooo slow and inept.

                I surprised so many have had so many bad experiences w/Incontro.....I've been w/groups and we've all loved our entrees. I went a month or two ago for lunch and had the most delicious sandwich.....veal meatball panini. OMG.

            2. If you want something you wont find in Tampa, Try the Lafayette house on Route 1 in Foxboro. It is Upscale dining in a really Old [for the US] House. Entrees are around $25 and the food last time I was there was decent.

              For Red Sauce Italian, the Rome near down town Franklin is for you. Their Pasta is Great and I grew up on the Gino's Special Pizza with anchovies on the side for my dad. For a neat setting Union Street Cafe has Jelly Block Walls, Tin Ceilings and large wooden Booths or it did when I was a kid. I'm Not sure how the food is now since it is no longer owned by the same folks and I think it is called the Union Grill now.

              For Lunch try Isabella's Groceria also in Downtown for Sandwiches and soups. and a cross the street is an Old School Meat market Ferrara's which has big Deli Sandwiches and an interesting take on Calzone's plus some of the best Pasta Fagioli I've had.

              Also depending on when you go the St Rocco's Festival is coming up August 7-10 and all the Awesome home cooks come out of the woodwork to support St. Mary's Church in Franklin in a field next to the Town Common.

              Enjoy your trip

              take care

              - P.

              Lafayette House
              109 Washington St, Foxboro, MA

              Rome Restaurant
              4 E Central St, Franklin, MA 02038

              Union Street Grill
              371 Union St, Franklin, MA 02038

              Isabella's Groceria
              13 W Central St, Franklin, MA 02038

              Ferrara's Market
              20 W Central St, Franklin, MA

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                When was the last time you went to the Rome? For the past 20-25 yrs, i considered them the local standard for red-sauce Italian....3-4 yrs ago they seemed have gone way downhill (everything overly salty was my biggest complaint - the sauce so salty it was almost inedible) and I haven't been back since. I'd love to hear that they turned things around.

                1. re: JaneRI

                  I was there last summer and it was good probably not as good as its heyday but that's becasue the older generations that made Franklin an Italian paradise are dying off.

                  take care

                  - P.

              2. Thanks for all the great suggestions! I should most definitely find something from these recommendations. I will report back on what we tried and what we liked.

                Thanks so very much for the help.

                1. You might try a shrimp plate at Rosewoods in Bellingham. Ask for coctail sauce - good onion rings, mediocre fries.


                  1. We arrived yesterday evening and had a quick dinner at Tom's Tavern. The food was great and the atmosphere was fun. Today for lunch we had some pizza at the Spruce Pond Creamery, the pizza was good and its was a nice lunch spot.

                    The dilemma is where to go tonight? Incontro? 3? or one of the italian places recommended(leaning toward Cafe Sorrento)

                    Which one should we try?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: FrankC

                      I'm not familiar with Cafe Sorrento. Incontro and 3 are both near each other. I have had so-so experiences at both. Honestly It is hard to recommend one over the other. You could pop in for apps and a drink at one and then have dinner at the other and let us know what you think. You would have to drive between the two places. If I had to pick between the two, I think I would say Incontro because the space at Incontro is more interesting than 3 and has a nicer outside dining area. If you are a barfly, I like the bar area at Incontro better than 3. I don't think Incontro have valet parking on a Tuesday. Food and service at both have been hit or miss for me. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you have a better experience.

                    2. Just returned to my hotel from Incontro. The food was very good, however I wish I would have tried somewhere else, the service was probably some of the worst I have ever experienced. Our punchdrunk waiter was more interested repeatedly returning to the table of a group of drunk old women sitting on the patio near us. He actually made eye contact with me several times and just walked right by when I obviously needed a drink refill and had salad plates that needed to be cleared. I asked for the wine list when I ordered and he didnt bring it until after our entree's arrived. He gave no explanation, just set the list on the table without saying a word(I believe the list is still there as I type this), and he returned to the drunk table. I am a very generous tipper as I spent many years in college waiting tables. I always leave 20%. I left this mental midget 10% and still felt like I got ripped off. My traveling companion left a 0.00 tip and wrote on the ticket to get the tip from the drunk women. I just couldnt do that as I suspect the tips are shared by all of the front of house staff.

                      Incontro = good food, crap service.

                      I have to say thanks for all of the help on this board. you guys have given great suggestions thus far, and I should have listened to all the stories about bad service. If any of you guys ever travel to Florida come on over to our board we will be glad to help with suggestions.


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: FrankC

                        Sorry your experience wasn't better. They never seem to be hurting for business. Maybe a lack of decent competition in the area means they don't have care enough about service to keep making money. There really is no excuse for the ongoing service issues they seem to have.

                        1. re: FrankC

                          Incontro isn't any place we'd go back too... we had a similar experience. Food was okay (what's up with all the white beans? they were served with everything), service was pretty bad and the noise level was over the top. Never got a second drink or a wine list. I had to get up and hunt down another waiter who wasn't very accommodating.
                          If given the choice, I'd much rather go to Tom's Tavern.

                          1. re: Lilibet

                            I'm not sure if I've been incredibly lucky or if I'm in denial....I've had nothing but good luck at Incontro (food & service both).

                            1. re: JaneRI

                              Hi JaneRI, this is one of those places that I alluded to on the Portsmouth posting. I've been to Incontro three times. Once, when it originally opened and I discounted their poor service for newbie openings. The second time was 2 or 3 months later later and not much better. After reading that some Hounds, including yourself, had much different experiences than myself I schlepped down there one last time. Well it was camel's back-breaking time.

                              I've rarely seen such lacksidasical, unfocused and amatuerish service in a start-up resto with upscale pretentions, and pricing to match. They haven't resolved their service issues in more than a reasonable to expect time period. Understand, I've found the food to be more than good on two occasions, albeit, a bit skimpy on the portions. It's just such a damn shame, especially in this struggling economy, that the trend is towards maddeningly bad service in many restaurants whose cuisine, all in all, is very good to excellent. In the final anaysis, it's all about the food and service not pretensions. I will have to try Caffe Sorrento in Milford but I 'm so glad that Tom's Tavern is still such a great option for the area, upscale or not.

                              All the best,

                              1. re: Harp00n

                                Oh, I don't doubt these issues are true....too many people are having the same complaint. If I recall, the first time I went they had just opened, so I didn't hold too much against them. And if they're somewhat inept but earnest and trying hard, I'll also cut some slack there. Since then I haven't had any issues, but that is also a limited number of visits....maybe 4 addt'l since that first time? Last time was a Saturday in May or June....lunch on the patio, our waiter was very attentive (we had a 2 yr old w/us and I'll go so far as to say he doted on her).

                                1. re: JaneRI

                                  Thanks for the response.

                                  Have you any experiences at Caffe Sorrento?


                                  Caffe Sorrento
                                  143 Central St, Milford, Ma 01757