LAKEVIEW — Say bonjour to Maison Marcel, the highly anticipated French restaurant and bakery opening next week in Lakeview.
Housed in the former Melanthios Greek Char House, Maison Marcel will offer organic, gluten-free and health-focused French American dishes, juices, smoothies and pastries.
Renovations have been underway since April, and the restaurant has been teasing its upcoming opening on social media over the past few weeks.
Most recently, a photo of dozens of freshly thrown bowls was shared Wednesday with a note attributing the work to the Chicago Ceramic Center, which is based in Bridgeport, as part of Maison Marcel's commitment to supporting Chicago businesses.
Just what those bowls will hold remains a mystery, with the restaurant's organic menu still not available. But French-born, French-trained baker Arnaud Brochard promises bread and pastries that will make up the soul of Maison Marcel.
The baker's station will be visible throughout the restaurant, giving diners a live look at the making of everything, "from baguettes to brioche," the restaurant touted.
Maison Marcel partnered with Metric Coffee and Harvest Juicery to provide the restaurant's beverages.
"Our goal is that customers feel at home," owner Xavier De Yparraguirre said. "Maison Marcel will be the place to get away from it all" with friends, co-workers or a good book.
French restaurateur Xavier De Yparraguirre (right), pictured with spokesman Victor Salinas, is opening Maison Marcel, a French bistro that will replace Melanthios Greek Char House at 3114 N. Broadway. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
"Every element — staff, music, ambience — has been chosen to foster relaxation and enjoyment," De Yparraguirre added.
As interior designer Avril Zayas puts the finishing touches on the French-inspired interior, the restaurant also shared a glimpse of its furnishings, with the caption declaring flirtily that, "Yes, it is better in pink."
Zayas is also an in-house designer for Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, and her portfolio includes work on Beatrix, Ema and Summer House.
Maison Marcel will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a brunch menu on weekends. It will be open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays — staying open until 10 p.m. Fridays — and from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Maison Marcel will open July 14 on Bastille Day, a national holiday in France akin to the Fourth of July in the United States.
In Chicago, the official Bastille Day celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at the Lycée Français international school, 1929 W. Wilson Ave., in Ravenswood.
The event will include the raffle of two round-trip tickets to Paris, games of the French sport pétanque (sort of like bocce ball, but with metal balls that are thrown instead of rolled) and an outdoor screening of Oscar-nominated animated French film "Ernest & Celestine."
Melanthios closed in fall 2014 with reopening plans that never came to fruition. Prior to being a Greek restaurant, the building was home to a video store.
Its replacement will seat 80 people inside and, like Melanthios, Maison Marcel will likely have outdoor patio that will seat another 20.
At night, the restaurant will host pop-up events like coffee workshops, French lessons and art shows.
The interior of 3114 N. Broadway, pictured in April, underwent a complete overhaul before opening next week as Maison Marcel. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
De Yparraguirre is naming his bistro after his grandfather Marcel, who made his living in Parisian food markets.
"We are a family that is very passionate about food," De Yparraguirre said in April.
He wanted his bakery to evoke the inviting warmth of a home like his grandfather's — maison is French for "house" — and rode his bicycle around the city to find the right place.
"I rode everywhere in Lincoln Park, Logan Square, West Loop," De Yparraguirre said. "And it was like destiny. I fell in love here with Lakeview."