[ From time to time, we’ll post a dispatch from another city that could serve as an example of how Philadelphia might accomplish something similarly smart. ]
Admittedly, Franklin Square has already come a long way and the Mini-Golf at Franklin Square is already fairly fantastic. But there’s one key area for improvement — and that's food and beverage service.
During a somewhat-recent visit to Chicago, one of the most surprisingly fun things we did was take in an afternoon round of mini-golf at The Green at Grant Park (above). The 18-hole, par-42 course is, literally, located right around the corner from the city’s shiny, new and super-popular Millenium Park, yet thankfully it never has the crowds that Millenium Park does.
The course is also awesome because the “course design features all aspects of true-golf-on-the-green, complete with varying contours on each hole, dramatic elevation changes, sand-traps and a challenge to par.”
Seriously, it was, without doubt, the best mini-golf course we’ve ever played.
And we haven’t even got to the best part.
See, The Green at Grant Park also has a full-service restaurant and bar with all-outdoor seating. And from said bar, you can buy beers to savor while playing your round of golf. Trust us loyal readers, the best way to enjoy a gorgeous afternoon round of golf — regular or mini — is with a few beers.
(Not to mention The Green’s restaurant, which puts out some very tasty sandwiches, salads and other light fare.)
So that’s what Franklin Square needs: a full-service restaurant and bar to really draw the attention it deserves and make the experience that much better. And again, we’re not talking about cafeteria food or funnel cake. We mean a Shake Shack-quality outfit, complete with amazing burgers and delicious local beers on draft.
It would be the shit.
If it happens, we know we’d spend at least one afternoon a week there during the season, inevitably having our requisite order of a bloody mary, a steak sandwich and a steak sandwich, which we basically try to have whenever eating in a psuedo country-club setting.
We say “if” because there's a decent chance it will, in fact, happen. We have it on good authority that the folks behind Franklin Square — what up Once Upon A Nation, you crazy kids, you — want to have a permanent restaurant installed in the park by the 2009 summer season. And they are already on board with wanting it to be awesome, i.e. Shake Shack-style.
They want a established local restaurateur to do it too. Like Starr, Garces, Stern, or Scarduzio/Perrier. While those guys are good, we think the Royal/Cantina team, the Brenda’s/Standard team, the Silk/N.3rd team or the Grace Tavern team could be even better. (Maybe even Bruno Pouget… as Apothecary is looking ever more awesome every day.)
Make it happen, Franklin Square. Make it happen.
Just be sure the café also gets a license to sell beer and booze. And that you can drink said beer while playing putt-putt.
Franklin Square [ Official Site ]
The Green at Grant Park [ Official Site via Google Cache ]
[ Second "The Green" photo via Flickr user Fran Mason ]
Mini Golf at Franklin Square via
and Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, Manhattan via