Jamie Malone is a bit of a Pinterest fanatic. She has been scouring the idea board for years and pulling her favorite images of Parisian cafes for inspiration. When the opportunity to take over Grand Cafe arose, she already had a million ideas for how to put the place together. She began drawing in her wildly talented circle of friends to help her and partner, chef Erik Anderson put this highly anticipated new French cafe. With the first dinner service just hours away, we stopped in and discovered what went into creating new life in this historic space.
Malone worked with her sister, an interior designer to help open up the space and add muted mint green and dusted rose colored accents, while cleaning up the existing woodwork. Her brother in law helped track down a hand-painted piece of wall paper that acts and a bit a of jungle focus in the back dining room. The previous owners, Mary and Dan Hunt had collected old China that was found in the basement. A mix of vintage stemware and gilded China will serve as place settings.
Bill Summerville, once the long-time sommelier at La Belle Vie and then at Spoon and Stable is putting together the wine list. He said the list will be mainly built from his whims. This is his opportunity pour several wines that are seldom available by the glass, and all are winemakers he loves to work with. These will be interesting, worldly sourced wines and a by-the-glass list filled with opportunities to discover new favorites.
It helps that Malone and Anderson are nationally renowned, widely respected chefs. Each is a Food & Wine Best New chef and both are well connected in the industry. There haven’t been any of the issues pulling together a solid kitchen staff to work with them. Despite having been in the industry for years, the fun of the job has never been more apparent. “We want to maintain a childlike sense of wonder, about food, about life and that starts in our kitchen,” is the unwritten mission statement for this era of Grand Cafe.
This location began its life 70 years ago as a bakery, that’s why there’s a huge oven in the center of the room. It still works and will continue to be a centerpiece of the Grand Cafe experience, but the bar surrounding it will change. An old zinc-topped, Parisian-made bar will be installed, perfect for slurping some oysters at.
Grand Cafe re-opens for this exciting new era today at 5 p.m.