Saturday, October 25, 2014

Maman - French Brocante Meets Michelin-Starred Chef: French Café & Bakery SoHo, NY

Just how good is Maman French Bakery and Café?   ... drive for over an hour to get there... line out the door all weekend ... 30 plus minute wait time just for their chocolate-chip cookie, good.   That's how good.  That is exactly what happened this past weekend at Maman.

Maman, meaning "mother", a new charming café in SoHo, New York, opened earlier this month.  Maman offers baked goods and regional dishes from the south of France.  A French Brocante meets a cozy French country menu of seasonal homemade comfort foods: Parisian ham, quiches, focaccia and brioches breads, galettes, and farm fresh salads along with a variety of French pastries such as lemon-thyme madeleines and raspberry tarts.  A happy way to begin your week.

Armand Arnal, Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall

Benjamin Sormonte, a French-born lawyer and partner of a hospitality company, the Experimental Group, in Montreal; and baker, designer, event planner, and girlfriend Elisa Marshall imagined a French bakery in New York that evoked the simple joys of their mothers' kitchens.  "He loved to cook, and I loved to bake."  "Everything we learned to cook and bake came from our moms."- Elisa

The couple recruited their friend, Armand Arnal, who's restaurant La Chassagnett in Provence earned him a Michelin star, to collaborate on their seasonal comfort-foods.  The trio opened this charming, Parisian-inspired space by incorporating Ben's grandmother's set of French china and framed family photos. 

Visit their Facebook page for Maman's Daily Menu. 


Elisa enlisted Candice Kaye Design to hand draw the custom sweet textiles, business stationary, menus and paper goods for Maman, including branding a rabbit theme which also recurs throughout the café and bakery.  

Elisa and Benjamin loved their pet rabbits as children,  so it was natural for a rabbit theme to run throughout the design, the textiles, and the pillows.   Even the vases on the custom-built farm tables imported from the south of France, are rabbits that charmingly display flowers from their ears.  

Brocante items found in France and America by the unerring eye of Elisa Marshall create a warm inviting space you will want to come back to again and again.

 A sweet surprise.

Samples of their coffee and hot chocolate served from a vintage French fruit crate.  Here's to a charming café and bakery, coffee & pastries . . .

Tables are beautifully set to host a special luncheon, afternoon tea with French Pastries, or a family breakfast on Saturday mornings. 

Fresh raspberry tart charmingly displayed on a vintage french compote.

Delicious pastries made daily - a wonderful treat on a fall afternoon.

The handmade blue and white"tiled" tie-dyed wallpaper is from Burkina Faso, in West Africa, and bought at the L'Aviva Home a neighbor to Maman.  Isn't the rabbit vase sweet with his halo of flowers.

A charming mix of blue and white plates , some vintage, some new, bring an old world elegance; reminiscent of a French farm table that you would find in a home in Provence, rather than a commercialized New York bakery.  

Everything is charming!

I had the great pleasure of speaking with the talented Elisa after I found a picture of their charming Bakery and Café and I just had to call and find out about their brocante-filled space.  She sent me to their Instagram and Facebook pages, and I have to say I LOVED IT ALL!  It was wonderfully done, and I can see why they have had great success since they opened.  I am hoping they will come to the West Coast soon.  If you live in New York, or are planning to go, have a cookie or lunch, and give this talented, and very personable trio a hug from me!

I hope it's lovely where you are...

All the best, Rié

*Pictures provided by Candice Kaye Design


  1. So charming!! Wish they were in the Bay Area.

    1. It really is! Elisa says they want to come to the West Coast, where do you think would be a good area? Santa Rosa? Healdsburg, Petaluma? St. Helena? xxRié

  2. Oh my goodness Maman looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious!! I wish I could visit, too!! It looks to be well worth the wait!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

    1. I love their attention to details. - It's almost Nov 1st! You must be getting so excited. xxRié


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