VERMILION, OH (WOIO) - Tucked away along the shores of Lake Erie in Vermilion is the most down-to-earth fine dining restaurant you'll find anywhere.
You may not expect that with a name like Chez Francois.
"We always look for no attitude. I hate to go into places, you know, you go into New York City and they are real pompous, and you go, now wait a minute, I'm coming here to spend $500 at your restaurant, and you are giving me attitude. It just kills me. So that's not what we are about," says co-owner Matt Mars.
Mars and John D'Amico are very modest. But a quick glance at the entrance will give you some idea of just how outstanding this five star restaurant is.
Walk into the dining room to take in the ambiance and you'll see why Chez Francois was just voted, once again, one of the most romantic restaurants in the country.
"We are really conscious about every sense, the visual, the hearing. Is it too loud? Is it too quiet? Touch. Do things feel clean? Is it too warm or too cold? You have taste for food and beverages. So, you are really hitting every sense," adds Mars.
Mars is the maitre d'. His partner D'Amico is the classically trained chef behind the line every day the restaurant is open.
He cooked us one of the featured items on their Valentine's Day menu: Roasted Maple Leaf Farm Duck Breast with a Cherry Glacé de Viande.
"We have a wide variety of things. I have fish. I have petite filets. I have steaks. We have duck, chicken. We can do whatever they want. That is another reason why people come here," says D'Amico.
Wines are specially selected just for you and each course.
Part of why Chez Francois is so romantic is its location. You're eating delectable dishes with a beautiful view of Lake Erie. In fact, among its many accolades, Chez Francois was voted the second best fine dining location on the water in the country.
"There's no gourmet dining in the country like we do on the water here," says Mars.
For close to thirty years, this is the place where people have come to get engaged, tie the knot or maybe to feed their romance with food. They'd love to be here for 30 more.
The restaurant is open for Valentine's Day and the day before, but then won't re-open for the season until March 14.