A La Carte
Move over, cupcake -- there's a new confection in town. PAUL USA, a 120-year-old upscale authentic French bakery-café, will officially open its doors on May 2 in Penn Quarter, followed by a store at Wisconsin & M Streets in August.
Would a president of Starbucks in France trade all that corporate cash to go back to basic French baking? Mais bien-sur! At least that's what PAUL president Philippe Sanchez decided to do. Tuesday PAUL welcomed Mayor Vincent Gray, French Ambassador to the U.S., Francois Delattre, Maxime Holder, Chairman of PAUL, Capital Restaurant Concepts CEO, Bechara Namour, and Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans. Also present, Capital Restaurant Concepts president, Paul Cohn.
Elaborating on the long-standing relationship of PAUL and Georgetown-based Restaurant Concepts, Lisa Amore, PAUL spokesperson told The Georgetown Dish, “Bechara Namour opened PAUL in Lebanon 30 years ago. Today Capital Restaurant Concepts celebrates a new joint venture with PAUL in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.”
“Discovering the passion for the art of baking in this family-owned business” is what persuaded Sanchez to relocate from Paris with his wife Sarah and their two children. Started in 1889 in Lille in northern France, PAUL now has 500 stores in 22 countries, including London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Tokyo, Bahrain, Belgium, Jordan, Qatar and Switzerland.
“It was love at first sight,” Maxime Holder, PAUL’s chairman told the guests, deciding to make Washington D.C. their first U.S. location. “It’s very international, with lots of chefs and a great interest in good food here.” As he turned to Mayor Gray, he added” This is your shop now, Mr. Mayor.”
“It’s impossible to imagine a meal without bread,” French Ambassador Delattre said. So important, he noted, that “UNESCO recently named French bread part of humanity’s cultural heritage.” The ambassador made special note of the fact that PAUL is using flour from Wisconsin.
With “50 fantastic team members”, Holder explained, “only three are French.” Echoing Holder, Mayor Gray said, “A milestone for the city, PAUL’s 501st store. This sends a message that our city, how Penn Quarter is growing. People want to walk. They want to live in downtown. One of the most exciting pieces of news is that the majority of people working here live in D.C.” In closing the mayor announced, “Let’s Welcome PAUL!”
Inside guests enjoyed Champagne Mimosas, croissants, pastries, sandwiches and French macarons (D.C.s new cupcake?)
Here's a little history about Friendship House at 3308 R Street, one of the very special properties on this year's Georgetown House Tour, April 30. If you've ever had the pleasure, you know this annual tour features some of Georgetown's most beautiful homes and their impressive gardens. Don't miss it this year.
Originally the 1818 two-story brick residence of Samuel Turner, Jr., an influential citizen and mayor of early Georgetown, this historic property's subsequent owner, Col. William Robinson, named it “Mount Hope” around 1830. The property was next occupied by Mr. Robinson’s daughter Mrs. Thomas Cox and her husband, who sold it to Joseph Weaver in 1875. It remained in his family until the 1920’s when Ambassador Alexander C. Kirk added wings and a swimming pool to the house.
Evalyn Walsh McLean, owner of the 44.5 carat Hope Diamond, bought the property in 1942 after she sold her 175-acre “Friendship” estate to the government for development into the current McLean Gardens complex. She renamed her R Street property “Friendship House” and entertained Supreme Court judges, the diplomatic corps, show business luminaries and soldiers recovering at Walter Reed. She placed a water cooler at the corner bus stop for the comfort of commuting war workers.
After Mrs. McLean’s death, the block of land constituting “Friendship” was acquired by the Georgetown Development Corporation under John de Sibour. The original house was subdivided into three houses and several new houses were built on the land that had been gardens and swimming pool.
The next prominent owner was Ella Poe Burling, a Washington hostess and philanthropist. Architect George Howe remodeled the central section for Mrs. Burling with two rooms on each of the five floors and installed a bird-cage of an elevator with glass sides.
The current owners, Tim and Shigeko Bork purchased Friendship in 2003 from Mrs. Burling’s estate. They fell in love with the sweeping view, which from the top floor extends to Alexandria. They decided to maintain the architectural integrity but removed layers of paint and brocade to create a contemporary atmosphere to showcase their art. Mrs. Bork’s Japanese heritage accounts for the minimalism of sleek Italian furniture that allows the reception room to accommodate a dinner party for 50 or a dance studio for their young daughter who studies at The Washington Ballet.
Mary Bird will be your Friendship House host.
For tickets and additional information, contact Georgetown House Tour or call 202.338.1796.
Joining an international network of Calvin Klein stores, Georgetown will be home to only the second U.S. Calvin Klein Underwear (CKU) store (after Soho). The iconic American designer's flagship store, Calvin Klein Collection is on Madison Avenue.
Slated to open in late spring/early summer in the space formerly occupied by The Body Shop, the M Street shop will carry a wide range of both men’s and women’s underwear and sleepwear styles in a boutique environment with a focus on customer service, including complimentary bra fittings.