An established Garden State hospitality group has officially launched its latest colonial-inspired endeavor inside a stately Van Vorst building that features both a party room and a backyard garden.
Last summer, renovations began at the former home of P.J. Ryan’s at 292 Barrow Street. The historic building, at the corner of Barrow and Mercer streets, features over 2,500 square feet of space and was taken over by Skopos Hospitality Group following a liquor license transfer.
The company was founded in 2015 by brothers Thomas and Dean Maroulakos and previously transformed a local dive bar in Nutley into Cowan’s Public, a 1930’s-style speakeasy public house. A second project dubbed The Barrow House converted a former Clifton farmhouse into a 230-seat restaurant, while the company’s first foray into Hudson County, The Vanguard, opened last year inside the Harrison Station development.
Before opening Franklin Social, Skopos Hospitality participated in Miracle on Mercer last month, a holiday-themed pop-up bar that ran through the Christmas season. Those festivities have now yielded to a modern take on the American tavern and an homage to Ben Franklin, which celebrated its Grand Opening on January 8.
The seasonally driven dinner menu at Franklin Social is divided up into small and large plates; the smaller options range from a bravas-style steak frites, kielbasa, or a prosciutto de parma platter. Large plates include a wild game skewer that includes quail and venison sausage, a braised chicken with cream of fennel, a lamb shank with orzo salad and demi glace, or a saffron spaghetti with shrimp.
The cocktail list at the eatery consists of thirteen different “liquid virtues,” a play on Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues outlined in his autobiography that he reflected on daily as part of his efforts to live a better life. All thirteen drinks and/or traits are accounted for like Humility, Cleanliness, Justice, Chasity, and Temperance, a concoction that consists of Appleton Estate rum, Camus cognac, and Jefferson’s Small Batch bourbon along with a toasted cocoa-infused orange liqueur.
Franklin Social’s liquid virtues all cost (you guessed it) $13 and other libations at the eatery include ten taps that emphasize local beers and ciders in addition to wine selections available by the glass or bottle. The eatery serves a brunch menu on weekends that includes diverse options like roasted chestnut hummus, fried chicken lollipops, a short rib benedict, or an oyster mushroom po’boy.
Franklin Social’s exploits can be followed on Instagram at the handle @franklinsocial and they are now open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Their aforementioned brunch menu begins service on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11 a.m.