After nearly five years in business, Frank’s Gourmet Grille is ready to grow.
The popular Mystic restaurant is planning to expand within its current building, and hopes to complete the work by the holiday season. In addition to increasing the dining area, the expansion will also provide adequate room for banquets and other large groups.
“I’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve outgrown this space,” said Frank Grace, owner and chef at Frank’s Gourmet Grille. “We can’t always keep up with demand.”
Grace says several factors drove the decision to make the restaurant larger. Since customers typically eat dinner between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and are reluctant to make reservations for later times, he wanted to have enough space to accommodate the dinnertime rush. Grace says there is also a need for improvements such as a larger kitchen, better storage and office space, and a new HVAC system.
With the expansion, Frank’s Gourmet Grille will have a dedicated space that can be partitioned off to host group functions. Guests will also be able to reserve the entire room for parties of up to 70 people.
The spacious, well-appointed, and quiet dining room and banquet area will be located in the former Seaport Medical Center, which left the premises in August 2018. A hallway at the rear of the building will connect this room with the existing restaurant.
Grace says the restaurant currently has about 2,000 square feet of dining area. The new space will add another 2,500 square feet.
The restaurant will take the opportunity to update the existing space by extending the bar and updating the layout of the dining area. The kitchen will also increase in size in order to meet the demand from the additional tables.
While some small menu changes are planned, all of the restaurant’s popular dishes will still be available. Grace says that once he gets a sense of what larger groups are interested in ordering, he’ll work to create various banquet menus.
“I really am very excited about what we’re entering into,” says Grace. “We’re embellishing everything I love doing.”
A special use permit has been approved for the expansion, and Grace says he has been working to raise awareness of these plans among his guests. He says several local businesses have already inquired about hosting Christmas parties in the new dining room.
Grace has worked in the restaurant business since he was 15 years old. He originally opened Frank’s Gourmet Grille in East Lyme in 2002 and ran it for a decade. The restaurant was revived in its current location in Mystic in 2015.
Frank’s Gourmet Grille has earned several accolades since its debut, including Best New Restaurant in Connecticut Magazine and the top-ranked Mystic restaurant on TripAdvisor. Grace said his staff has been a major part of this success, describing them as a group committed to the customers and the restaurant industry; about half of his employees have worked with him for at least 10 years.
“I’ve got a phenomenal team of players here,” says Grace.
Frank’s Gourmet Grille is located at 56 Whitehall Ave. in Mystic. For more information, call 860-415-4666 or visit franksgourmetmystic.com.