A popular chef and restaurateur is back on Huddersfield’s dining scene – with probably the town’s most intimate eatery.
Ben Franco’s new restaurant The Barn is based in the old coaching house of the Woolpack pub in Westgate, Almondbury.
And with just five tables it’s serving up a “funky fine dining” experience.
Ben, whose previous restaurants include Nosh, Gringos and – of course – Franco’s, said: “I set up Franco’s Deli 30 years ago and this is my eighth business – and I hope it will be my final one.
“The Barn at the Woolpack is really tiny but it can comfortably sit 20 people.
“It’s fine dining food with a funky environment. I don’t want it to be stuck up and pompous.
“It will have a nice intimacy and people can stay here all night as we won’t re-lay the tables.”
Ben, 47, was bought out of Franco’s in November last year and stayed on as manager until July when his attention turned to The Barn.
He added: “I bought Nosh from the owner of the Woolpack 16 years ago and now his son runs the pub and I asked him a few months ago about taking over The Barn.
“It’s been refitted and I’ve chosen the decor to be as fun as possible.
“We’re launching on Thursday and we are fully booked for the launch week and have lots of bookings for the coming weeks.
“The menu is inspired by my life and I’m fortunate to have travelled, eaten and worked in some great restaurants.
“For example the Popcorn Crayfish is inspired from my time in New Orleans and there’s a BBQ rib on the menu which is from my time at Gringos (Mexican) and a veggie main course which was one of the first dishes at Nosh.”
Ben has also taken feedback from his followers on Facebook.
“I know a lot of people,” he said. “I grew up in Almondbury and I have asked people on Facebook what they want to see.
“I will change the menu seasonally as it’s the kind of restaurant people will come to once every few months.”
And with the restaurant opening just three nights – Thursday to Saturday – he will have more time to focus on the quality of food as he heads back to the kitchen as opposed to front of house.
“We’ve got great suppliers, local meat from Bolster Moor Farm, I’ve got a friend who runs an ice cream business in Slaithwaite and he has made green tea ice cream which will go with a burnt lemon tart.
“It’s great to be able to focus 100% on the food and with just opening three nights it will be great fun.”
The Barn launches on Thursday, October 13 and is fully booked. For more information go to www.facebook.com/benfrancoatthebarn/posts
The Barn’s Winter Menu offers two courses for £24.95 and three courses for £29.95.
Try this: Not Just Garlic Mushrooms for starters – creamy and smokey with toasted sour black garlic – followed by Crispy Belly Pork, Sage and Onion and Crushed Apples served with black pudding, bubble and squeak, jus and carrot spaghetti.
For dessert go old school and try Chocolate Sponge and Pink Custard.