What do you do when your two great passions are graffiti and cooking? One option is to open a French bakery in Wynwood, a neighborhood known for its unique street art and emerging dining scene. And that's exactly what Arthur Arnaize did a couple of months ago when he and his parents opened L'Épicerie (195 NW 36 St., Miami).
L'Épicerie means grocery in French, and indeed at Arnaize's spot you can purchase various goods imported from Europe, as well as enjoy homemade bread, pastries, coffee, and a daily selection of prepared foods. For example, they sell the original Haribo gummy candies from Germany.
Arnaize trained under Michelin-starred chef Thierry Schwartz in Alsace, France, before relocating to Miami. Now, the 26-year-old is in charge, but his mother Catherine helps with the cooking. And his father Hervé assists with the finances. Once the business is in order, his parents plan on returning to Paris.
Chef Arthur's English is rather limited, but his mom describes the fare at L'Épicerie as reminiscent of that which you'd enjoy in a French village. It's elegant yet simple, she says. Soon they'll have a beer and wine license which will be perfect for those looking to have some vino with their lunch, or with an after work bite, seeing as how the eatery's open from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For the time being, customers can bring their own wine.
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A signature pastry of the house is the feuilléte, which has the exterior of a croissant and the interior of a brioche ($3.50). They come in various flavors like almond raisin, chocolate chip, almond brown sugar, and even the savory bacon and cheese. Arnaize also makes French loaves and baguettes everyday starting at 2.a.m. just like he did in France, and says the secret lays in the yeast.
Seating is available both inside and outside at L'Épicerie, and each day the specials are written on a large blackboard ($6-$15). Catherine says there's always a meat dish, a big composed salad, quiche, a gratin, and a vegetable main. Anything you see can be eaten on the premises or taken to-go. The Arnaizes also offer catering, and recently catered for the Hublot boutique in the Design District, and served breakfast at a nearby school that was celebrating the completion of a French course.
The Design District has Buena Vista Deli for French goods, and now Wynwood has L'Épicerie. What can we say except it's très fantastique.