FANCY? Located in Sylvan Park, Park Cafe is one of the fancier restaurants in this neighborhood. It offers a seasonal menu that usually includes options like salmon, filet mignon, pork chop, and chicken breast with premium sides and decadent desserts (think pumpkin cheesecake through autumn). This is a great place to go for a romantic dinner date and is equally suitable for hosting larger groups on the back patio.
FUN? Park Cafe is a sister restaurant to Eastland Cafe and Pomodoro East— so it comes as no surprise that the outdoor space is sizable and exquisite. Park Cafe’s cobblestone-paved patio plays host to tables both in the open and under a large tent, giving customers the option to enjoy the sun or to take refuge in the shade.
FRUGAL? Heading over to Park Cafe on a Tuesday is one of your better decisions when it comes to happy hour. On Tuesdays, the restaurant offers its burger with fries for only $7 (usually $12). The regular happy hour menu runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. This menu features $6 cocktails, $5 wines, $3 drafts and an assortment of food items (listed below). The Cabernet Sauvignon was the Dark Horse brand, which did not disappoint for $5/glass! We ended up getting a margherita pizza, the burger, two glasses of Cabernet and two Jackalope Red Rye Ales– and only spent $30. Now that is a deal! And the best part is that Park Cafe doesn’t restrict happy hour specials to its bar area. You can enjoy these same deals on the patio, too.
The Husband Bourbon Rating: N/A
Bourbon isn’t one of Park Cafe’s specialties. Instead, go with a $3 draft and spend the money you save at Park Cafe on high-end bourbon elsewhere.
FANCY? Between the food and the ambiance, Cork & Cow ranks highly in the fancy department. The restaurant is situated in Franklin’s quaint downtown area. As you can see in the photo with the wine and cocktail, the booths are adorned in a tufted emerald green material. And the food itself lives up to its surroundings! We started with the zucchini fries, which were very lightly fried and all-around delicious. The peach crostini (smoked burrata, onion jam, peach, country ham) is an appetizer that can double as an entree, and the burger with fries did not disappoint. We would happily be back and order the exact same way.
FUN? Very. The bar area is quaint; the restaurant isn’t too loud (which comes at a premium these days); and the restaurant’s small two-story set-up is reminiscent of a Napa Valley bistro with the wine bottle chandelier and corks covering the wall. This would be a great choice for an intimate date night!
FRUGAL? Somewhat. I recommend going on a Sunday to take advantage of the half-priced wine deal. For most of the wines, this means purchasing bottles at nearly the same price you would in a wine shop. For example, the Petite Petit is about $18 before tax in a liquor store. With Cork & Cow’s half-priced deal, you can get it in the restaurant for $22– and you can cork it to take home.
The Husband Bourbon Rating: A-
Cork and Cow’s bourbon offerings are not mind blowing in terms of number, but the menu grants you a chance to get your hands on pours of several hard-to-find selections at reasonable prices, such as Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 22 for $25 and Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2014 for $22. If ultra-allocated offerings get your Glencairn trembling, Cork & Cow currently offers Booker’s Rye– but it will set you back $60 per ounce. In terms of bourbon-based cocktails, I’d put this bar up against any in town. The previously offered Staggerac was a favorite among many enthusiasts, and the newly added Dillinger* is adding stiff competition. It’s boozy and spirit-forward with a smooth finish that primes you for more. Give it a try and call yourself an Uber!