By GREGORY ZELLER //
If you’re still clinging to those New Year’s weight-loss resolutions, better stay out of Great Neck.
Marie Blachère (bring your French dictionary, the U.S. website is still under construction), a wildly popular French bakery boasting 500 locations throughout its home country, is warming up its first U.S. location: a two-story, 25,000-square-foot eat-in market on Middle Neck Road in the Nassau County village.
Set to open this month, the new eatery essentially combines an authentic French bakery with a modern open-market design – French pastries, artisanal breads, croissants and baguettes abound, while domestic tastes can be satisfied by salads, pizzas and burgers.
Add a full selection of muffins, donuts, cold drinks and fresh-brewed coffees, and Marie Blachère becomes the ultimate foodie walkabout, straight from a land where bread is king and pastry is a birthright. The store will offer indoor seating for 40 plus an additional 40 rooftop seats this spring.
The pizzas and burgers spicing up the selection are not the only differentiators between the company’s traditional French markets and its first U.S. location. The domestic menu also differs slightly by including common American ingredients such as cinnamon, almond and avocado – though the menu is based on traditional French recipes, the company said.
The Great Neck eatery will source its ingredients from U.S. producers, with the exception of its flour, which will be imported from France, according to a company statement. The company plans to employ 20 staffers at its new store.
The opening brings “a household name throughout all of France” to American shores, according to International Business Development Director Christophe Besnard, who trumpeted 14 years of success for the 2004 startup – launched in Provence, in the South of France, by “passionate baker” Bernard Blachère.
“We are thrilled to bring our authentic artisan breads, baked goods and food items to the United States, where traditional breads and pastries have unquestionably gained in popularity over recent years,” Besnard said. “We look forward to delighting Long Islanders at our first U.S. location.”
The business development director also shared the company’s hopes for a bright future, noting “we see huge growth potential here.”
To that end, Great Neck figures to be the vanguard of a foreign legion of French foodstuffs. Marie Blachère – which whets appetites with busy Instagram and Twitter accounts – is already planning a second Long Island location for 2019 (location TBA), with a total of five U.S. bakeries rising by 2020 and as many as 30 by 2024.
Establishing its U.S. beachhead in Great Neck was no accident. Marie Blachère sees its first American store as a taste test of sorts, according to Besnard, who believes “New Yorkers have sophisticated taste when it comes to food, especially their breads and pastries.”
“They want high quality, authentic, fresh food made from only the best ingredients,” he added. “That is what Marie Blachère stands for and that is what our reputation is built on.”
What’s It? Super-successful French bakery, opening its first U.S. eatery in Great Neck
Brought To You By: French baker Bernard Blachère and his passion for pastry
Status: Great Neck is only the beginning