Dining with Pat – French Laundry

This is truly a unique restaurant approximately 45 minutes northwest of Clarkston, at 125 Shiawassee in downtown Fenton. It is housed in a converted laundry building, hence the name. The atmosphere is eclectic with a European flair. In addition to the main dining room and bar areas, there is additional seating outside, in front of the restaurant.

The owner, Mark Hamel, spent a year in Paris during his college days at Michigan State University. His dream was to own a restaurant with a French name but not necessarily a French-influenced menu. In 1997, the French Laundry Café and Market was born.

As you enter, the market features Zingerman’s breads as well as enticing, house-made pastries and pies. A casual seating area features high ceilings and 1950’s kitchen style, vinyl-topped tables and mis-matched chairs The dining room, added nearly five years ago, includes a bar stocked with everything from boutique beers and wine, many from Michigan breweries and vineyards, and an array of malt Scotches and Irish whiskeys,

When we were seated, the friendly wait staff offered us an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  There are 40 different sandwiches to choose from. I ordered the Reuben sandwich with corned beef instead of the “heart-smart” turkey. It was served on marbled rye and grilled to perfection. My friend ordered the French dip au jus, which looked and tasted wonderful. It was served on a lightly toasted baguette. We sampled a taste of each sandwich and found both delectable. The servings were very large and the staff advised us that the guests rarely leave hungry. We took home more than we could eat and had memories of a great culinary experience. We both look forward to returning for dinner soon.

My friend and I were so impressed with our first visit; we decided to have lunch there again. This time we chose lighter fare. We both decided to try the salad of the day which consisted of baby spinach, feta cheese, dried cherries, hard boiled eggs and croutons. Every bite was full of flavor. It was topped with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Lunch prices ranged from $ 3.95 for a cup of soup to $15.00 for a hot lunch special. I highly recommend it.

Dinners are served from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm, Mon. through Sat.; and Sun. from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm.  There is a kid’s menu as well as a catering menu offered. The dress is casual. They do not accept reservations so it is best to arrive early if you are there for dinner

We could not leave until we chose a pastry to take home. The blueberry/peach pie was unbelievable and my friend raved about her pastry.

In addition to the take-home desserts, we also took home memories of a delectable experience and a desire to return for dinner.

The French Laundry

Zingerman’s Deli


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