TRAVERSE CITY — Patisserie Amie permanently closed its doors in March during the initial COVID-19 shutdowns in northern Michigan.
Owner and chef Eric Fritch decided to adapt his business rather than leave French cuisine entirely. He collaborated with Jason Thibodeau and Rob Lindsay, owners of the Parlor, to open Brasserie Amie in the building that once housed The Franklin restaurant.
“Serendipitously, this place became available,” Fritch said. “Brasserie has always been a dream of mine. It’s a style of restaurant, especially in Paris, with high-quality service but low prices.”
Fritch said the brunch menu still features some of their popular items “with a few new additions,” like the pizzas and many of the cocktails. He knew their French onion soup, a staple at the former restaurant, needed a place on the new menu. The coffee also made the transition.
“All of our egg dishes, our omelets are famous,” he said. “We have about seven options. They’re in the French style with creamy centers and unique ingredients.”
Though selecting a favorite dish is as hard as choosing a favorite child, Fritch said he leans toward the galette, a buckwheat crepe made with ham, cheese and fried egg.
“It’s all the food I like to eat,” he said. “It’s a labor of love.”
General Manager Laine Ayre said “brasserie” translates to “brewery.” In France, this means meals all day and bar service at night. Ayre said they plan to add dinners as well as a rooftop bar to complete this concept.
“The plan was to open for real Thanksgiving weekend, and then all the pauses started,” she said. “We’re in our seventh week of curbside. January and February are usually slow around the country, but this may be different this year.”
She said their model is successful, as people are looking to get out a little during the pandemic.
Some people have ordered coffee and then walked through downtown while waiting for their food.
“It’s been seamless,” she said. “Even with the pauses, we’re making it happen. It’s important that we do Traverse City well.”
So far, the mimosa kits and coffee are popular beverage orders. Ayre said their dine-in menu will also feature about 20 beers on tap. The bar manager, who worked at the Parlor, will also craft cocktails.
Ayre added that the restaurant can hold nearly 100 guests, compared to about 30 at the Lake Street building.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently stated she plans to allow indoor dining to resume Feb. 1.
Brasserie Amie staff hopes to welcome new and returning Patisserie Amie customers to their space as soon as restrictions lift.
“We’re really excited to be able to see people again,” Fritch said. “We’re expecting a great honeymoon period when we do open our doors.”
Fritch said the building features an air purification system, ultra violet lighting to kill pathogens and a gold LEED certification.
Plus, they renovated the inside so it will look different to people who dined at The Franklin.
“It’s almost like if you walk in some place in Paris,” he said. “We want to transport our guests if only for an hour or two.”
In the meantime, curbside pickup continues from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Three parking spots are available off Cass Street. Customers can stop in or call 231-753-3161 to place an order.