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Restaurant opens in historic Franklin building

Building was once post office and city hall
Posted: 10:55 AM, May 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-23 14:25:50-04

FRANKLIN—For the last 11 years, a building very much tied to the history of Franklin has sat vacant.

No more.

RFD Franklin, the Johnson County city's newest restaurant, is open for business at 55 West Madison Street, two blocks from the county courthouse.

And if it looks like a former post office, that's because it was — from 1937 to 1981.

The restaurant borrowed its name from Rural Free Delivery, the postal service's initiative in the late 1800's to bring direct mail delivery to people living in rural areas.

When the Franklin post office moved to larger and more modern quarters, city government moved in.

The building was Franklin City Hall from 1981 to 2008.

Lesa and John Talley purchased it in 2017 and began transforming it into a restaurant which will have a grand opening on Tuesday, following Memorial Day, but began serving customers this week.

"It's an outstanding building," said Lesa Talley. "We restored as much as possible to show the beautiful architecture of the building."

Some of the fixtures from the original post office remain and the Talley's found other historic pieces from former post offices, including walls of postal boxes.

Talley says RFD Franklin is serving traditional American food, including pasta, steaks, seafood and salads.

Downtown Franklin has gone through a transformation in recent years.

"There are a lot of wonderful places to eat here and we hope to be one of them," said Talley.