In an unassuming neighborhood in Stamford sits Franklin Street Works, a contemporary art space and cafe. Recently we had the pleasure of attending a press event to explore the gallery and the local-food focused cafe lunch and brunch menu. We fell in love with both.
The Art Space
Franklin Street Works lives within a row of brick townhouses constructed between 1886 and 1890. They were one of the last structures erected on the street. The gallery space was updated to celebrate its rich architectural heritage but also create an open, modern space.
The current exhibit entitled Acting On Dreams is on view until August 30th. This curated show focuses on the state of immigrant rights, conditions, and advocacy in the United States. The exhibit features all types of mediums - film, interactive, painting, photography. Each piece is thought-provoking in its own right, but together they feel so much more impactful. Since this is a food blog I'll keep focused on that, but I highly recommend checking out this exhibit.
As we perused the artwork, we were treated to bites and sips from the newly launched cafe lunch and weekend brunch menu prepared by Chef Erin Emmett. By the way, all proceeds from the cafe benefit Franklin Street Works, a not-for-profit 501c3 organization.
The menu highlights locally sourced ingredients and even fresh vegetables and herbs from Franklin Street Works backyard garden. They also source from Fairgate Farm, a community garden, just up the street. Having worked in San Francisco for a farm-to-table catering company, Chef Emmett is no stranger to "playing with her food," and plans to change the menu seasonally.
Chef Emmett’s from-scratch menu includes signature sandwiches like the grilled sweet manchego panini with fig jam and soppressata. We sampled the sandwich with an incredibly refreshing heirloom tomato gazpacho.
For a snack or light lunch, is a toast featuring my favorite combination of smashed avocado with lime and chili flakes. Chef Emmett commented to us that in this geographic area people haven't caught on to the delight of avocado toast. Seriously, I make this combination for breakfast at least twice a week. It's so simple but fantastic. Try it.
And, what is brunch without quiche? I ate my way through at least half a platter of the petite roasted red pepper quiche samples.
Salads include arugula, beet, and farro as well as a Southwestern cobb with black beans, jack cheese, avocado, bacon, roasted corn and chipotle lime vinaigrette.
Oh, and did I mention that the cafe has wine and beer. Yes, you'll find a selection of wine, regional craft beer and drinks like sangria, mimosas and shandies on the menu.
I personally enjoyed the Blackberry Lemon Shandy using Half Full Beer. I'm not usually a "shandy person," but the fresh blackberries and lemon added just the right amount of sweetness. It was refreshing.
With her background as a pastry chef, Chef Emmett also brings her sweet side to the menu, with baked scones, muffins, hand pies, cookies, and her soon-to-be-famous house made granola.
Her catering company, Sweet Pistachio, will also feature its signature macarons in flavors such as salted caramel, Earl Grey, and of course, pistachio. I adore macarons and these fit the bill.
The cafe features fair trade coffee by Brooklyn Roasting Company and the baristas make handcrafted espresso drinks.
Good, fresh, local food and professionally curated art shows. This is a delightful match. We are definitely fans and plan to go back.
You can check out photos of all the tasty bites from the press event over on our Facebook page here.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. This press event tasting was free of charge. The opinions contained herein are my own and reflect my experience. Your own may differ.
Franklin Street Works
41 Franklin Street . Stamford, CT
203-595-5211 (art space)
Wed, Thurs, Friday, 12noon to 5pm
Sat + Sun, 8am to 5pm
Closed Mon + Tues
Photos by Renato Ghio