Mornings in Paris has a simple goal – to make its patrons feel like they are in a French café, complete with fresh pastries, delicious coffee, elegant decor and spirited conversations. The café, located in Kennebunk, Maine, uses a simple yet powerful tool in this pursuit – authenticity. Owner and proprietor Isabelle Julien is a true native of France, born and raised in Montpellier, a city in the county’s southern region. She first experienced coastal Maine as a tourist, and was so impressed that she now makes her residence in Kennebunkport. Becoming established in a new environment has given her the opportunity to share anew the culture that animated her childhood. “I got started in my love of food and the cafe lifestyle through my mother,” Julien says. “She taught me the art of patisserie and dessert.”

 

Owner of Mornings in Paris Cafe-Isabelle Julien. Photo Credit-Photographer Karen Sigler

Owner of Mornings in Paris Cafe-Isabelle Julien. Photographer-Karen Sigler

Mornings in Paris has a rich menu of French pastries, savories and desserts. “We are a full-service café,” Julien says. “We carry multiple kinds of croissants, pain au chocolat, kouign amann [a buttery croissant style dough that is shaped into a muffin tin and topped with sugar] petit fours, macrons, cakes, cupcakes, coffee cakes, quiche, danish and pecan twists.” Julien’s acuity for baked goods is honed by her experiences growing up, her years living and working in the Caribbean, and by her perennial travels. “I spend a time each year back home in France as well as around the Mediterranean,” she says. “I also love exploring locations around North America.”

The other consumable component of the café – one which represents exciting change and growth – is coffee. “[We serve] every kind of gourmet coffee, cappuccino, espresso that you can imagine,” says Julien. Mornings in Paris prepares its espresso with a genuine, top-of-the-line Italian machine, crafted by the Victoria Arduino company. Coffee beans are roasted in-house, on a gas-fired machine fabricated by the Diedrich company of Idaho.

 

Nick Pellenz. Photo Credit-Photographer Karen Sigler

Nick Pellenz. Photographer-Karen Sigler

 

La Brûlerie – a coffee roastery offshoot of the café – is already in its early operational stages. The business will allow customers to see firsthand how the beans and blends are honed by Nick Pellenz, the café’s dedicated coffee roaster.

Julien sees this side of the business as representing as a significant opportunity. “We want to keep developing our customers and develop our wholesale coffee business,” she says. “We want more of our customers to take our coffee-by-the-pound home with them. We appreciate the loyalty. Our customers feel like family.”

There is more to the business however, than just selling food and drinks. Mornings in Paris is about capturing a certain ambience. “Everything in the cafe looks like a Parisian experience,” says Julien, “The colors, the chairs, the atmosphere. It transports you to another place.” This in turn gives rise to openness, interaction, compassion. “Kindness and warmth are the most important parts of service. Taking time for a coffee is also taking time for conversation,” Julien says.

Sometimes this simple act can bear wondrous fruit. “My favorite memory [from Mornings in Paris] is when we celebrated a wedding at the café,” Julien recalls. “A couple had met at Mornings in Paris and they got engaged here. They decided to have us cater a small wedding reception for 40 people at the shop. It was just lovely!”

Editor-David Sano

 

 

 

 

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