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Daily Crave

French bistro and market Chez du Bon opens Downtown

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Chez du Bon opens Downtown today. Billed as a French eatery and fresh market, the food is inspired by traditional French cuisine, as well as classic dishes from the French Quarter in New Orleans. The decor follows suit with metallic hues of gold, silver and purple adorning the walls, ceilings and plush seating. It’s a far cry from the space’s former life as a Wendy’s.

Chez du Bon—the latest concept from the owners of De-Novo and Manifesto—is divided into three spaces where diners can enjoy French-inspired cuisine in three very different ways.

First, there’s the cafe (walk straight through to the back), which is designed as a grab-and-go style lunch spot offering salads, crepes and sandwiches, plus house-made pastries (including beignets all day) and house-made breads and Snowville Creamery products. There’s also a nice selection of foodie gift items (like specialty mustards, jams, wine and coffee and beignet mix from New Orleans’ famed Cafe Du Monde) and pre-made bouquets of fresh flowers.

Next, there’s the bistro—the designated seating space right when diners walk in. The menu here features slightly more formal French dishes, including Croque Madame ($12), Deep Dish Quiche ($9), Braised Lamb Shoulder Tartine ($14) and Duck Confit Cassoulet ($12) from a tight list of entrees.  

For a more formal dining experience, head upstairs to the mezzanine level where diners can order off of a five-course or seven-course tasting menu ($50 or $70, respectively) that will rotate regularly. A five-course vegetarian tasting menu is also available.

Owner Yavonne Sarber hired chef William Fugitt (he’s worked in kitchens around town including Rigsby’s, Gallerie and the now defunct White Rabbit) to head the kitchen. Fugitt comes from a French background, with a resume that includes time at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, Tru in Chicago and The French Laundry in Napa. “Fugitt is a rock star,” Sarber says.

The market is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bistro is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. And the mezzanine is open daily from 5 to 10 p.m.

Chez du Bon isn’t the only new eatery Sarber has up her sleeve. By March 2014, she plans to open two spots—comfort food and barbecue restaurant Pink Cow and live blues club Le Ruelle Bleus. The side-by-side spots are only 1,800-square-feet each, so they will be intimate spaces, Sarber says.

Currently restaurants Mall Cafe and Thai Lotus are operating in those spaces on Lynn Alley. Sarber will take ownership on Jan. 1.

—Beth Stallings