Gio and Fran Are Not Local Butchers
You know how Toronto or other big cities have a certain hip feel and vibe? I don’t really know how to define it other than to say there is a cool factor that is always interesting, sometimes a bit uncomfortable and usually progressive. It’s especially pronounced in the entertainment, food, fashion and arts scenes. Well anyway, that vibe is heading north here to Collingwood, Blue Mountain and surrounds. And it seems to be happening so fast.
Food trucks, fringe festivals, artists hubs… they are all here. From Bent Taco to The Hub, from the Wild Stand to Northwinds Brewery, new businesses and adventures spring up so quickly and they all seem to be doing well.
If you’re from the GTA, you may be familiar with Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant in Leslieville. The restaurant doesn’t have a sign other than a big nose outside so that’s what locals call it – The Nose. Gio has a bit of a cult following so it was rather exciting when he quietly opened Gio and Fran’s Italian Eatery in Meaford. You heard that right. In Meaford and just down from The Hub. Again, there is no sign on the building and the window still has “Butcher Shop” written across it as left by the previous tenants. It’s easy to miss if you don’t know this detail although, your nose may point you in the right direction.
We finally had a chance to visit this little restaurant a couple of weeks ago. It’s small and intimate with a feel of being in someone’s home. Fran was the sole server that night and despite it being full, somehow she effortlessly managed to keep everyone happy as she took orders, delivered meals and chatted with guests. It’s not a fancy or fussy place and, some bits of cutlery were missing from our place settings but it was entirely OK. The menu is easy – no handouts as it is written on a blackboard and changes daily. Fran’s homemade foccacia buns are divine but be aware – they are so big you could easily fill up before your meal. Entrees that night included a giant meatball swimming in a fresh, homemade tomato sauce, Osso Bucco, Aracini, rigatoni, calamari, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken cacciatore and more. So lots of choice and all were priced under $20.00. The food was served hot, fresh and was delicious. There were only two dessert options including Tiramisu or Fran’s homemade cherry pie which was what we all had given that the Tiramisu had run out.
O. M. G. That’s all I can say about that pie. It became a bit of a fun game just to watch people’s faces when they took their first bite. Trust me on this.
They are open Tuesday to Saturday from 5-9 pm. Check out their Facebook page for daily menus or call ahead. Please tell them Marg sent you or better still, invite me along!