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Countdown Begins for Payard's Return

By Amy Zimmer | October 19, 2012 2:53pm

MANHATTAN — Francois Payard is bringing his famous French pastries and chocolates back to the Upper East Side the week of Oct. 29.

The official opening day has not yet been declared for FP Patisserie, his shop opening Third Avenue, between East 74th and 75th streets. It will become the new flagship for the Payard brand, store reps said. It will pay homage to his original and sorely missed Payard Patisserie & Bistro, which shuttered in 2009 after more than a decade on 73rd Street and Lexington Avenue due to a rent dispute.

Residents hit a sugar high when Payard signed a lease for a corner spot on Third Avenue at East 76th Street last year, only to be crushed when that deal fell through — after Payard already began renovating the windows. Payard vowed he would return to the neighborhood after that, and the new space is tantalizingly close to being ready.

FP Patisserie, at 1293 Third Ave., will be divided into three areas: a boutique displaying the renowned chef’s line of cakes, desserts and chocolates; a bar serving beer, wine and champagne; and a 32-seat Salón de Thé that will include some dishes being brought back by popular demand from Payard Patisserie & Bistro.

Payard’s return will further add to the Francophile flavor of the block. The world famous Parisian bakery Eric Kayser opened its first U.S. boulangerie and brasserie in August across the street from Payard’s new home.

Locals were already salivating at the prospect of two French food havens when Kayser opened and Payard was under renovation.

“Now we’re getting our fill,” Sharon Bernstein, who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years, said of both bakeries. “Before we had nothing. I’ll be happy, but it won’t help my waistline, for sure.”

Payard’s new venture is just two avenues away from his wife’s tiny, 450-square-foot storefront selling vegan desserts that opened in August. Fernanda Capobianco’s Vegan Divas at 1437 First Ave., near East 75th Street, sells cholesterol-free, low-calorie and kosher treats like spelt chocolate brownies and gluten-free coconut macaroons made from organic ingredients.