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Le Fou Frog

Le Fou Frog

Kansas City, MO

For a good time, (make reservations): Here

Check out their website: HERE

Key words: Fun. Honest. Jovial. Welcoming.

In my days leading up to my shift at Le Fou Frog everyone I met said, “oh, you’re gonna have fun there.” As soon as I pulled up and got out of my car it was as if I entered a vortex where I found myself “feeling it” before I even stepped foot through the door.

Let’s start with the name. Did you know that French people were once referred to as frog? How about that the French translation of crazy is Fou. If you put that together you end up with Le Fou Frog, a crazy French person; more or less.

Who is Le Fou Frog at Le Fou Frog? Why, Chef Mano of course! But don’t call him chef, he doesn’t like it, although he is one, and a damn good one at that.

The restaurant itself is housed in an unsuspecting building; no glitz, no glamour, but a hidden gem for those lucky enough to stumble upon it. It’s the kind of place you could totally miss if you weren’t looking for it. That seems to be part of its charm though. Barbara, Mono’s wife and business partner said, “If it were shiny and sparkling it would definitely lose something.”

Agreed.

 

The fun inside

 

I walk into the restaurant and find the service team doing what service teams do; prepping for service. One unique part of prep is writing the many nightly specials on the many mini chalk boards. (Mono is creative and comes up with a lot of specials every night.)That is what is occupying Barbara’s time. She is Mono’s wife and business partner, and the leader of the front of house. Her demeanor is relaxed and friendly, but there is a quiet strength in her and I doubt she is often crossed.

I wondered around the room and found a quaint and casual dining room. It looked lived in and felt ready to live on. I walked out to the patio and found Sarah prepping the patio for the evening. She is a server and singer at LFF and is quite familiar with the quaintness of the dining room. Since the tables are intimately spaced, “You can’t help but make friends with your neighbors,” says Sarah. “It’s really communal that way. That means when the restaurant really gets going it’s a cozy feeling and familial so everybody just feels at home.”

I told Sarah that their restaurant’s reputation was one of fun, she revealed why. “A couple of us servers sing. Barbara has a background in theatre so she’s always been a great appreciator of musical theater. It’s become a big deal.”

It’s such a big deal in fact that sometimes guests recognize her as a singer from magazine article they’ve read.

Close proximity tables and singing servers sounds pretty fun, but romantic? Apparently so. LFF is regularly rated as one of Kansas City’s most romantic restaurants. Sarah gives me her take. “I think one of the most important parts of a marriage is a when two people laugh together. The fact that this restaurant can make you feel happy due to external influences, that’s really powerful. There might not be a better aphroesiac than laughter.”

You can’t argue with that.

But all that fun and merriment must be met with great service, because you can’t feel romantic if you’re constantly trying to flag down a server for more red wine. When I asked everyone about sections Jansen, one of LFF’s servers said, “We’re all equally busy regardless of sections.” That statement is a distillation of what teamwork is. Too many restaurants have one busy server at a time while the team watches in amusement and resentment. Not here. Barbara boasts on her team, “We have rock stars. Everyone is checking on everyone.”

When you have a team that is “checking on everyone” you have better service and guests feel a better vibe. Couple that with singing servers and cozy tables and you get a restaurant that has earned high accolades; Le Fou Frog!

 

This restaurant team teaches us that romance is not just candle light and chocolate covered strawberries, but laughter and merriment.

 

Thank you Barbara. You are a wonderful host and too modest about what you have! Thank you team. Mano, Sarah, Judy (you are a treat of a bartender. Thanks for the laughs and conversation), Jansen, Hunter, Lisa, Ashley, Lee (my unsuspecting, handsome and fun dinner date) and everyone else who helped me grasp the specialness of your service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment
  1. Wow, the review about Le Fou Frog was spot-on and certainly captures the joie de vivre which IS Le Fou Frog! As a regular patron there, I recognized that you summed it up perfectly. Well done! I will follow your tour – continued good luck! Lee

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