Since its 2009 opening, the restaurant space at One Park Place has stood empty. "Mr. Finger told us a lot of restaurateurs and businesses approached him but he never found it to be the right one," recalls Monica Bui of Marvy Finger, whose Finger Companies owns the building. Bui and husband Philippe Verpiand, owners of Étoile Cuisine et Bar, had always considered expanding their now four-year-old Uptown Park restaurant, but wanted to wait until they were truly ready. Last summer, they began negotiations for what will be called Brasserie du Parc. They signed the paperwork on Monday and hope to debut the restaurant in November or December of this year.
Bui is currently working with Kathy Heard Design to create a design that will expand on the 3,000 square feet currently available. "If we pull it off, it's gonna be great looking!" Bui jokes. Their plans include a 1,600-square foot glass-enclosed terrace and a mezzanine that will serve as both private dining space and additional seating for restaurant overflow.
And the food? Choice will be essentially double that at Étoile. The dining room will serve similar upscale fare to that at the original location, along with more lunch options, such as croque monsieurs and madames, and quiche. The more relaxed lounge area, with the centerpiece of a square bar, will have a casual menu of its own. Since the restaurant is adjacent to Discovery Green and its myriad events, Bui and Verpiand decided that crêpes were the perfect fast-but-good option to feed the masses.
Bui says that all the standards will be on the menu, including basic sugar-and-butter, Nutella and banana-and-berry-filled dessert crêpes. But the California girl is hoping to persuade her French-born husband to add some more eclectic options, as well. "For the savory there is potential to put a little Asian twist like marinated lemongrass chicken filling," Bui says of the buckwheat crêpes. She adds that she's also suggested a take on crispier Japanese-style crêpes.
And if that fails, come Christmastime, diners will certainly be able to bite into a ham-and-cheese crêpe or two. Better yet, so will the floods of diners in town for the Super Bowl.