French restaurant Café Clem closed in August after five years on Kittredge Street, making way for another Parisian outpost, Maison Bleue — one of two restaurants to open this month, the other being popular boba shop Plentea.
Maison Bleue, which opened Downtown about two weeks ago, offers a variety of traditional french cafe fare, including omelets, pastries, sweet or savory crepes and galettes — a savory pancake made from potatoes or buckwheat flour. Owner Patrice Fayet said he plans to expand both the hours and menu offerings in the coming weeks, adding to the selection an evening happy hour featuring a cheese board and croque monsieur — a ham and cheese sandwich that is usually dipped in batter and grilled.
Fayet, who is French, previously resided in Paris, where he owned and operated three Italian restaurants. After living in Thailand and San Francisco, he settled in the Rockridge area and decided to open a cafe similar to those he patronized in Paris.
“People here don’t have time — they don’t have time to eat,” Fayet said. “If people like the place and the food, we’re hoping they will spend more time in here and stay awhile.”
Fayet said he chose to open his restaurant at the former Café Clem location because of its outside dining area, which reminded him of Parisian cafes where “everyone goes out on the terrace.”
Maison Bleue will offer ready-made baguette sandwiches and a to-be-determined discount for students in the coming weeks, according to Fayet.
Closer to campus, next to Unit 3, San Francisco-born boba shop Plentea opened its second location Thursday on Durant Avenue, to the peaked interest of neighboring students. A line of about 40 people — mostly students — waited for an average duration of 30 minutes Friday evening.
After learning that many of the bubble tea shops that he and his wife frequented served milk tea containing “harmful preservatives, artificial ingredients, and synthetic chemicals,” Plentea owner Henry Tang began making milk tea at home for his then-pregnant wife, Yan, and then decided to share his creation with the world, according to its website. The first Plentea opened in spring 2014, serving more than 20 different types of handcrafted made-to-order milk and fruit teas with high quality ingredients sourced from the Bay Area and around the world.
Several students in line said they were drawn to the shop because of the glass bottles Plentea uses to serve iced milk and fresh fruit teas.
“I save the jars and use them every day,” said Sanjana Kumar, a campus senior who has previously visited the San Francisco Kearny Street location. “I think the experience is most important.”
According to its website, Plentea is currently hiring for both locations.