Two years of negotiations failed to produce an agreement between Le Marais Bakery and the owner of its building at 2066 Chestnut Street, leaving the popular establishment to close its doors at the end of October.
Patrick Ascaso, owner of Le Marais, told FrenchMorning.com the building had been purchased by an investment company several years ago, and the owner sought to make up a jump in taxes by raising rent. “This increase amounts to 1,000 percent, and unfortunately, our lease did not provide for a ceiling on these variations,” he told the newsletter. “We have not increased the prices of our pastries while the price of labor has increased, and the rent we are currently paying is already above the market price. Added to this are the substantial sums that we have invested in fitting out the premises and that we will not recover. At some point, you have to come to your senses and not cross the red line.”
Le Marais locations at 498 Sanchez Street, 1138 Sutter Street, and 250 East Blithedale Avenue in Mill Valley will remain open.
But husband-and-wife team Patrick Ascaso and Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso are also bringing a new food destination to the city. Late this month is the scheduled opening of Grande Crêperie at the Ferry Building, featuring “artisanal, natural levain buckwheat galettes and sweet crêpes bretonnes,” Ascaso announced. They brought in well-known French baker Gontran Cherrier to help develop the recipes.
How will Grande Crêperie differ from other crepe restaurants in the city? By bringing back some of the excitement to a field Ascaso says has lost its charm. “The places that opened 20 years ago haven’t changed,” he told the Chronicle’s Janelle Bitker. “It’s a social thing people have forgotten. I think that’s what I want to bring back.”