Vacationers have a tendency to lose track of time, which doesn’t work in favor of restaurateurs offering once-a-week promotions.
“Tourists don’t know there’s a special night. They just want to have what we’re known for the first time they come in,” says Lawrence Mitchell, co-owner of Gaulart & Maliclet, commonly known as Fast & French.
In the case of Fast & French, that means crusty bread and crocks of melted cheese, long served exclusively on Thursdays. But now, in deference to the changing character of Broad Street and the diners it draws after dark, fondue is available every night the 35-year-old restaurant is open.
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed but people aren’t on Broad Street to eat anymore,” Mitchell says. “It’s a struggle to get people in. So we’re trying to put our best stuff forward.”
Mitchell initially experimented with shutting down Fast & French after lunch during the first half of the week but it was too painful to see the restaurant dark. “Every time I came by the café and saw it closed on a Tuesday, it just hurt me,” he says.
So Mitchell decided instead to adjust the menu, removing a few items and making a permanent place for fondue, which has remained consistently popular even as customers have flocked uptown to patronize the recent crush of new restaurants.
Thursday is still the only night on which the fondue price includes a glass of wine, but the dish is otherwise the same from Monday through Saturday. Specifically, from 6 p.m. onward, $25 buys seafood fondue, blue cheese fondue or Swiss fondue, served with soup or salad.
“It’s just a way to keep it steady in a changing city,” Mitchell says.