A French invasion
Have you noticed a lot of French-inspired restaurants popping up in and around Birmingham and Bloomfield? First on the scene was The French Lady, which opened on Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham, September of 2020. The timing proved to be inopportune since all Michigan restaurants were shut down for indoor dining due to COVID-19 from November 18, 2020 until January 31, 2021. Today, owner Claude Pellerin, who was born and raised in France, says business has been good. “During the pandemic, we did a lot of carryout because that’s all we could do, but now people are coming back to dine in,” said Pellerin. The cozy eatery offers indoor seating for 28 and outside seating for 16. Pellerin’s signature dishes include beef bourguignon, creamy quiches and cassoulet – a stew of white navy beans and smoked sausages in a tomato sauce that is based on her grandmother’s recipe. “It took me several years to actually do it like my grandmother,” she said, “and I’m still using her pot.” Pellerin notes that they have applied for a bistro license and have made it through the first step. “When we receive the license, it will be so nice to finally serve a red wine with our beef bourguignon,” she said. Just a few blocks south of The French Lady on Old Woodward Avenue, the Paris Baguette Bakery Café opened its first Michigan storefront at the end of January. The South Korean-based franchise has over 4,000 stores worldwide and has just recently ventured into the American market. The quick serve bakery boasts a delectable assortment of cakes, cookies, pastries and seasonal specialties, in addition to iced or hot coffees. Meanwhile, in Bloomfield Township, the owners of the French patisserie, Chez Pierre et Genevieve, which opened in the fall of 2020, have plans to open Bistro Pierre in the next few months. The bistro will be located right next door to Chez Pierre et Genevieve and will feature classic French dishes. According to owner Moni Ghosn, the new establishment’s menu will include true and classic French dishes, “things you can’t get here, that are more typical of France,” such as fondue like in the Alps, savory and sweet crepes, and French pizza, which he explained is thin-crusted, made with French flour. Sounds magnifique! The French Lady, 768 N. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham zfrenchlady.com; Paris Baguette, 183 N. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham parisbaguette.com; Bistro Pierre, 6525 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Twp.