For a number of years, I wrote a food blog. While it was fun, there's an inherent problem with blogging: Limited funds can translate into limited visits, typically only one before passing judgment. The result can be a hasty verdict that doesn't fairly assess the restaurant.
Take the Franklin Inn, a new Museum District eatery in the space where the Corner Café used to be. To say our first visit was a disaster would be kind. Even taking into account that it was the first night for both the waitress and the chef, it was a mess. There were long waits for beverages and appetizers, incomplete orders, and our potato cakes were burned on one side (the side turned down). There was discussion at our table about leaving before the entrées arrived — at different times.
If I were still blogging, you would have read a scathing writeup. But this isn't a blog post. Subsequent visits allowed me to appreciate the place a bit more. The small restaurant is quickly becoming a neighborhood hangout for people who live or work nearby. The burger (shown) is decent, and at $3.95, it's a real bargain. The Senate Bean soup is a bit on the salty side (possibly from the generous amount of ham), but when paired with a half-sandwich, it comes off nicely. I appreciated the minimally processed meats used in the sandwiches. It's good to see turkey that looks like it was sliced off a real bird. It's a pity the fries are frozen — seems a bit of a waste against such nice sandwich meats.
Apart from the well-made sandwiches, the Franklin Inn does have a few entrées on offer: reasonably good crab cakes, a chicken brochette and even penne pasta with roasted vegetables. The Poor Richard, chopped steak with gravy, was a nice traditional dish, albeit a tad over-seasoned. For couples on a budget, The Ambassador for Two, a 16-ounce sirloin, grilled and sliced, then covered with sautéed mushrooms and onions, is quite the deal at $19.95.
All in all, Franklin Inn serves reasonably good food at reasonable prices. I may even return and check out their brunch — on my own dime.
800 N. Cleveland St., 716-9493
Prices: Sandwiches $4 to $10; entrées $9 to $20.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.