Saturday, March 24, 2012

April at Francesca’s Restaurants: Bunnies, bacon, beer & wine are only part of the fun at Francesca’s this month!

With signs of Spring blooming all around Chicago, Francesca’s Restaurants is planning for a colorful month.  Celebrate Easter with family & friends and meet the bunny himself, indulge in the decadence of Baconfest at Francesca’s Forno or partake in Beer & Wine Dinners at select locations. Everything’s coming up roses at Francesca’s this April!
Oregon Wine dinner at Francesca’s Famiglia

April 11, 7 p.m. – Francesca’s Famiglia (100 East Station Street, Barrington, IL 60010; 847-277-1027)

Spring is in the air and Francesca’s Famiglia in Barrington is hosting a fresh & inspired wine dinner event!  Featuring wine selections from the vineyards of Bethel Heights in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this 4-course menu is only $52 per person, all inclusive! Reservations are required.  

The meal starts with Whipped Burrata, tomato and rhubarb conserva paired with a 2011 Pinot Gris. This is followed by Roasted scallops, morels, ramps, English peas and bacon. This pairs excellently with a 2009 Chardonnay. The third course features Handmade toasted fennel seed and goat cheese gnocchi, crispy duck, fava beans, caramelized spring onions. A 2009 Pinot Noir makes a great pair for this course. The evening ends with Rosemary crusted rack of spring lamb, baby carrots and roasted root vegetables. This is the perfect companion for a 2008 Pinot Noir “Casteel Reserve”.

Goose Island Beer dinner at Francesca’s Vicinato

April 12, 6:30 p.m. – Francesca’s Vicinato (12960 S. LaGrange Road, Palos Park, IL 60465; 708-671-1600)

Chef Mario Lopez of Francesca’s Vicinato serves a savory Italian meal with courses paired perfectly with famed Goose Island beers.  Jim De Bolt of Goose Island leads the meal, educating diners on food & beer pairings at this fun, festive dining event.  Reservations are required, $45 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.

The evening starts with Crostini misti, an assortment of crostini’s paired with 312 Urban Wheat Ale. This is followed by Insalata Mista con Gamberi e Granchio, frisee, arugula, lemon & olive oil, jumbo shrimp wrapped in prosciutto stuffed with crab meat, pepper aioli and aged balsamic. It is a perfect pair for Summertime, German Style Kölsch. The third course features Papardelle con Anatra, homemade wide pasta, duck confit, asparagus, roasted artichokes, brown butter sage and parmigiano reggiano. A Nut Brown Ale makes the perfect companion. Next is Lombo di Maiale al Vicinato, grilled pork tenderloin, caramelized onion mashed potatoes, grilled peach and balsamic rosemary demi-glaze, paired with Matilda, Belgian Style Pale Ale. The meal finishes with Brownie alla Moda, chocolate caramel pecan brownie served warm with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and vanilla gelato paired with Bourbon County Bramble.

Raise a glass to the end of tax season with a Wine dinner event at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr

April 17, 7 p.m. – Francesca’s Bryn Mawr (1039 W Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL 60660; 773-506-9261)

Uncle Sam’s annual day of reckoning is upon us…. (drum roll please) TAX DAY.  If April 15th is a day to celebrate in your household, chances are you are receiving a tax refund; but if you owe, the tone is surely not so upbeat.  Whether you are drowning your sorrows or toasting to your own financial windfall, we have an event for you.  “Uncle Sam meet Auntie Vino” is a 4-course wine dinner hosted by Francesca’s Bryn Mawr.  Guest speaker, Danny Kleiman, of Heritage Wines takes you through a guided tour of Italian wine varietals paired with an innovative Francesca’s menu.  $48 plus tax & gratuity, reservations required.

The evening begins with Citrus House cured Salmon with shaved fennel and extra virgin olive oil. This is paired with Voveti Prosecco DOC. Following this is English pea filled ravioli, soft poached hen egg, in a parmesan broth with browned butter asparagus, paired with Inama Soave Classico 2010. The next course features Prosciutto wrapped seared ahi tuna with braised pork cheeks, morels, and spring onions. The Endrizzi Teroldego 2009 wine pairs perfectly with this course. The dinner ends with Grilled lamb chop with sweet garlic puree, petit spring vegetables, anise scented lamb au jus. Tenuta Sant’ Antonio Valpolicella Ripasso Monti Garbi 2008 is paired with this course.

Lagunitas Brewery Beer Dinner at Francesca’s Passagio and Francesca’s al Lago – It’s “Doggone Good Beer”

April 12, 7:00 p.m. – Francesca’s Passaggio (3124 South Route 59, Naperville, IL 60564; 630-946-0600)

Whether your beer of choice is a pilsner or pale ale, Lagunitas Brewery is sure to make you a believer in their brews. Enjoy 5 beer selections expertly paired with Francesca’s food. Tickets are $45 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are required.

 The beer dinner begins with Carpaccio di Cernia con Finnocchietto Selvatico e Pompelmo, grouper “Crudo” with shaved fennel, grapefruit sea salt, extra virgin olive oil. Lagunitas crispy wheat and pale malt A Little Sumpin’, makes the perfect companion. This is followed by Gambetta di Pollo al Rosmarino, citrus marinated chicken thighs pan seared in rosemary and chiles oil, paired with IPA, India Pale Ale. The third course features Agnolotti con Funghetti, homemade pasta filled with Prosciutto, caramelized onion in a mushroom sauce and Parmigiano. It is a perfect pair for Wilco Imperial, brown Ale. Next is Pesce Bianco Delicato con Faglioni, roasted Lake Superior Whitefish, French Beans, lemon-butter sauce, paired with New Dogtown, Super premium Pale Ale. The meal finishes Mousse di Cioccolato, chocolate Pot au Cream, and is paired with The Censored, rich Copper Ale.

 April 18, 6:30 p.m. - Francesca’s al Lago (111 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Madison, WI 53703; 608-255-6000)

Whether your beer of choice is a pilsner or pale ale, Lagunitas Brewery is sure to make you a believer in their brews.  Come out on Wednesday, April 18th and enjoy 5 beer selections paired with a menu handcrafted by Chef Sergio Lopez of Francesca’s al Lago. Tickets are $50 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and sure to sell out quickly.

The evening begins with Insalata di Spinaci e Pistacchio, spinach, radicchio, watercress, and pistachio in honey champagne vinaigrette, paired with PILS, Czech Style Pilsner. This is followed by Carpaccio di Mele, apple Carpaccio with brie cheese and cracked black pepper drizzled with a balsamic glaze. It is a perfect pair for IPA, India Pale Ale. The third course features Tagliatelle con Cozze, homemade pasta sautéed with mussels, slow roasted tomatoes, sliced shallots, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. An American Brown Ale, Wilco Tango Foxtrot, makes the perfect companion. Next is Branzino e salsa d’ Aragosta, roasted sea bass with grilled asparagus in tarragon lobster cream sauce, paired with Hop Stoopid Ale, Pale Ale. The meal finishes with Savoiardi con Cioccolata Fondente, lady fingers soaked in Cappuccino Stout with dark chocolate, topped with strawberry compote, and is paired with Cappuccino Stout, Big and dark Stout.

Make your Easter Egg-cellent with a family meal at Francesca’s on Easter Sunday

While all Francesca’s restaurant locations are open for service on Easter Sunday, some are hopping up the excitement with these celebratory Easter events.

 Francesca’s Tavola (208 S. Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005, 847-394-3950)

The Easter bunny will be visiting Francesca's Tavola from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on the two Saturday’s leading up to Easter (March 31st and April 7th).  Activities for the kids include coloring contests and Easter egg hunts.  Parents bring your camera and snap a shot of your little ones visiting with the bunny himself.  Italian breakfast menu available throughout; reservations required for this sell-out event.

On Easter Sunday, a lavish brunch buffet at Francesca’s Tavola features a prime rib carving station, made to order omelets, whole roasted salmon, eggs, bacon, sausage, homemade pastries, salads, pastas, chicken and much more from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  ($24.95 for adults, $12.95 for ages 2-12 and no-charge for children under 2).  Standard Francesca’s ala carte menu from 2:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for dinner service.

Francesca’s Fortunato (40 Kansas St, Frankfort, IL 60423, 815-464-1890)
Bring the family out to Francesca’s Fortunato in Frankfort for a traditional Italian brunch featuring frittatas, omelets and French toast in addition to many of your Francesca’s favorites. The restaurant will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with a visit from the Easter Bunny from noon to 3:00 p.m. Brunch specialties available through 3:00 p.m.  

Francesca’s Bellezza (75 S. La Grange Rd, La Grange, IL 60525, 708-579-3500)
Lunch with the Easter Bunny at Francesca’s Bellezza on Saturday, April 7th noon to 3pm!  Make a reservation for you & the kids to dine with Peter Rabbit himself.  Kids will enjoy a pint-sized buffet complete with pasta, pizza and chicken fingers while their parents can order ala carte from the traditional Francesca’s menu.  The price of $8.99 per child includes lunch, beverage, Easter egg hunt, goody bag and a picture with the hoppin’ hare. Space is limited - reserve your table today.

The Easter bunny will also make appearances on Easter Sunday at Francesca’s Amici (174 N York Road, Elmhurst, IL 60126; 630-279-7970)  11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Francesca’s Famiglia (100 East Station Street, Barrington, IL 60010; 847-277-1027) 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Francesca’s al Lago (111 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Madison, WI 53703; 608-255-6000) 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

TGIF at Francesca’s… Start your weekend out right with Friday night music events at Francesca’s

Francesca’s Bellezza (75 S. La Grange Rd, La Grange, IL 60525, 708-579-3500)
Sit back, relax & unwind with friends at Francesca’s Bellezza every Thursday 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. & Friday night from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Live jazz, a glass of wine & a bite to eat will make the hustle-bustle of your work week seem like a distant memory.  Seats are first come, first serve and there is never a cover charge, so arrive early!

Francesca’s Vicinato (12960 S. La Grange Rd, Palos Park, IL 60465, 708-671-1600)
Fasten your seatbelts for a guided musical tour through rock 'n roll history with The Neverly Brothers at Francesca’s Vicinato. Live for one night only at Francesca’s Vicinato in Palos Park, mark your calendar for this can’t-miss, toe-tapping, sing-out-loud event on Friday, April 27th.  The restaurant recommends that diners make dinner reservations between 7 and 7:30 p.m. After enjoying a delicious meal, diners may keep their tables for the show. After 8 p.m. the restaurant will offer general seating. For more information on The Neverly Brothers, visit their website at

Francesca’s Restaurants celebrates the Day of the Mushroom, April 16th at all Chicagoland locations

Button, shiitake, oyster, wild, portobello, cremini, enoki, beech… with so many mushroom varieties to choose from how will you select just one to top your list for National Mushroom Day on Monday, April 16th?  Celebrate the day of the mushroom with Francesca’s Restaurants and we’ll point you in the right direction with the Pasta Funghetto. Featuring the porcini and wild mushrooms, tossed with perfectly al dente pasta, mascarpone cheese, white truffle oil, fresh oregano and brandy-veal sauce to create a rich, decadent pasta dish that will make you a believer.  Available for $10.99 at all Francesca’s restaurant locations for lunch & dinner on  Monday, April 16th. 

 Support your community – Come out & get involved!

You can support your community simply by eating at Francesca’s. When you dine at any Francesca’s restaurant during their Eat and Earn promotion, a portion of your bill is donated to a charitable organization in the community.

Thursday, April 5, Francesca’s Tavola (208 S Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005; 847-394-3950) is hosting an Eat and Earn program to benefit Hersey Jazz Band. For more information on the Hersey Jazz Band, visit They are also hosting an Eat and Earn program April 17 supporting Wright-Way Rescue Pet adoption Center. For more information on the Rescue Center, visit

Francesca’s on Bryn Mawr (1039 W Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL 60660; 773-506-9261) is supporting Edgewater Historical Society by hosting an Eat & Earn on Wednesday, April 11. For more information, visit Emmaus Ministries on Thursday, April 12. For more information about the organization, visit  and Care for Real – local food pantry, on Wednesday, April 25. More information about Care for Real can be found at

Monday, April 16, Francesca’s on 95th (6248 W. 95th Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453; 708-598-7007) is teaming up with Sons of Italy organization to raise money for children with autism. For more information, visit  

Francesca’s Passaggio (3124 South Route 59, Naperville, IL 60564; 630-946-0600) & La Sorella di Francesca (18 West Jefferson Avenue, Naperville, IL 60540; 630-961-2706) are supporting Dine-Away Hunger Foundation on Wednesday, April 18. La Sorella also is hosting an Eat and Earn for Naperville Responds for our Veterans on Wednesday, April 11. The organization assists veterans in need by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and coordinates the process of repairing, building and donating homes. For more information about the organization, visit

Wednesday, April 18, all Francesca’s locations are participating in an Eat and Earn promotion to benefit Variety Children’s Charity, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of children around the world. Variety of Illinois supports children with disabilities, as well as those who are underprivileged, or otherwise at-risk.  To learn more about this organization, please visit

Thursday, April 26, Mia Francesca, Francesca’s Forno, Francesca’s on Chestnut, Francesca’s Taylor & Francesca’s Bryn Mawr join together with nearly 75 other Chicago institutions in support of the city’s Dine Out for Life campaign.  In its 19th year, Dine Out for Life’s mission is to provide housing and life services to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.  Help us make a difference in these people’s lives by dining out on April 26th; a portion of all lunch, dinner & carry-out sales will be donated to this great cause. 

Charities interested in learning more about Francesca’s Restaurants Eat and Earn restaurant should contact the manager of their local Francesca’s.

Thursday, April 26, Francesca’s Famiglia (100 East Station Street, Barrington, IL 60010; 847-277-1027) is one of the local businesses in Barrington participating in a Relay for Life kickoff party for Purple Heels Sip and Shop event. Francesca’s will be offering complimentary Limoncello to diners that mention the charity.

Bacon Makes Everything Better… Baconfest & Francesca’s Forno!

Chicago’s hottest ticket in town is Baconfest on April 14th.  If you weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket (they’ve been sold out for weeks), get in on the fun at Francesca’s Forno.  In conjunction with the event, they’ll be featuring their Baconfest creation in-house for restaurant guests on Saturday, April 14th… Yes, the same creation to which only Baconfest ticket holders are privy.  Get your bacon-fix at Francesca’s Forno!

The Menu at Di Sotto Enoteca expands to include Desserts

Reeling from a nomination by Time Out Chicago for “Best New Bar in 2012”, Di Sotto Enoteca steps up their game and adds gourmet Italian desserts and premium Intelligentsia coffee to their already well-respected small plates menu.  Dessert selections include handmade truffles, lemon-ricotta fritters and zeppoles. These light and doughy Italian doughnuts are filled with decadent cheesecake or dark chocolate. Served alongside French press Intelligentsia coffee and “black cat” espresso, the desserts at Di Sotto Enoteca make the perfect after dinner treat.  Check out the full menu at & indulge your sweet side with a visit.

Earth Day at Francesca’s Tavola

Earth April 22! April 16th- April 22nd, Francesca’s Tavola (208 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005; 847-394-3950) will be featuring an Earth Day Cocktail.  This cocktail will consist of Muddled Organic Cucumber and Organic Lemons, Organic Vodka, St. Germain, Simple Syrup and club Soda. $1 from each cocktail purchased will be donated to The Nature Conservancy of Chicago.

Administrative Assistants Day at Francesca’s Restaurants

Call it a Hallmark holiday if you will, but Administrative Assistants Day honors a talented group of people that keep the wheels turning in any company.  Show the Admin in your department how grateful you are for their support with a special meal at Francesca’s Restaurants.  On Wednesday, April 25th all Francesca’s locations are open for lunch service (with the exception of Mia Francesca, Chicago) and taking reservations. Can’t get out – show your thanks with the gift from Francesca’s – gift cards available to purchase in-store or online at

Francesca’s Tavola (208 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005; 847-394-3950) will be offering a lunch special. Guests can choose a two - course meal (appetizer, soup or salad and pasta, sandwich or entree) with a soft drink or iced tea for $10.00 or a three - course meal (appetizer, soup or salad and pasta, sandwich or entree, and a dessert), with a soft drink or iced tea for $15.00.

Francesca’s on 95th ( 6248 W. 95th Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453; 708-598-7007) Are you a boss treating your admin to lunch or dinner? Bring them to Francesca’s on 95th and you will receive 15% off your bill.

Davanti Enoteca spices up your weekend mornings with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar

Have you been bit by the Davanti bug? The hottest destination in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood just got hotter (or spicier) with the addition of a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar for Saturday & Sunday brunch.  You can choose from 10-15 different hot sauces, various pickled veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, white asparagus, green beans, cauliflower and of course the classic garnishes like limes, olives or celery. Sundays are “Sinful Sundays” you can enjoy this classic brunch beverage, made just as you like it for only $5. Brunch is served every weekend from 11a.m. to 3 p.m.

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